UN fails to find consensus after Russia, China veto on Syrian aid

  • Saturday 11, July 2020 10:37 AM
Sharjah 24 – AFP: The UN Security Council failed to find a consensus on prolonging cross-border humanitarian aid to Syria on Friday after Russia and China vetoed an extension and members rejected a counter proposal by Moscow.
Without an agreement, authorisation for the transport of aid to Syria, which has existed since 2014, expired Friday night.

Germany and Belgium were working on a final initiative to save the effort, with hopes of bringing it to a vote this weekend.

"We are ready to work round the clock, and call on others to think of the millions of people in Syria waiting for the Security Council to decide their fate," said German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month.

After Moscow and Beijing wielded vetoes for a 2nd time this week, only 3 countries joined Russia in backing its proposal to cut the number of aid transit points from 2 to 1.

China supported Russia, but 7 countries including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Belgium voted against, with 4 abstentions.
An attempt by Russia to pass a similar resolution also failed earlier this week.

The NGO Oxfam had warned that stopping cross-border aid would be a devastating blow to the millions of Syrian families who rely on this aid for clean water, food, health care and shelter.

Thirteen countries voted in favor of an earlier German-Belgian draft, but Moscow and Beijing opposed the extension because they favor a more limited proposal.

The UN authorisation allows the body to distribute aid to displaced Syrians without needing permission from Damascus.

Russia and China argue that the UN authorisation violates Syria's sovereignty, and that aid can increasingly be channeled through Syrian authorities.