Rival Syria Resolutions Defeated at UNSC

Rival Syria Resolutions Defeated at UNSCRival Syria Resolutions Defeated at UNSC

Rival resolutions on Syria backed by the West and Russia were defeated in the UN Security Council on Saturday, offering no relief to the besieged city of Aleppo and leaving the key powers even more divided over a course of action in the war-ravaged country.

Russia vetoed a French-drafted resolution demanding an immediate halt to the bombing campaign that the Syrian government and Russia are carrying out against militant-held districts in Aleppo. The rival Russian draft, which made no mention of a bombing halt, was rejected because it failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes needed for approval by the 15-member council, AP reported.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current rotating council president, said before the votes that members were engaging in “one of the strangest spectacles” in the Security Council, because they were meeting knowing that neither resolution would be adopted.

The votes reflected the deep divisions in the UN’s most powerful body that is charged with ensuring international peace and security but has totally failed to take action to end the more than five-year Syrian conflict that has killed over 300,000 people and displaced millions.

The French-backed resolution received 11 “yes” votes, two “no” votes from Russia and Venezuela, and abstentions from China and Angola. The Russian resolution received four “yes” votes, nine “no” votes, and two abstentions.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who addressed the session before the vote on the French resolution, warned that the continued bombing of Aleppo was killing civilians and destroying hospitals and schools “and has nothing to do with combating terrorism”.

Russia’s Churkin said the demand for a bombing halt in Aleppo was “not fleshed out” and would affect the government-controlled western part of the city as well as the militant-held east.

He said the French resolution’s adoption would have been the first where the Security Council decided on a course of action for a permanent council member without prior agreement.

Churkin noted that activity in Aleppo had gone down on Friday and “we hope this is a trend that will continue.”

Until Friday afternoon, the French resolution was the only one before the council. But Russia unexpectedly introduced a rival resolution. Russia’s Churkin agreed that “more action is needed”, but blamed the United States for failing to separate the moderate opposition from the extremists as called for in the failed US-Russia ceasefire agreement.

Both the French and the Russian resolutions urged immediate implementation of that agreement and “immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access throughout Syria”.

Many council members expressed dismay at the council’s continued failure to end the suffering of the Syrian people.

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