UN Council rejects Russia bid to limit Syrian aid deliveries

UN Council rejects Russia bid to limit Syrian aid deliveries

TANZANIA, Tanzania — A Russian resolution that would have limited the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria’s mainly rebel-held northwest to one crossing point from Turkey was defeated in the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.

The resolution needed a minimum of nine “yes” votes in the 15-member council and it got support from only four countries — Russia, China, Vietnam and South Africa.

Seven countries voted against it — the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Estonia and the Dominican Republic. And four countries abstained — Tunisia, Niger, Indonesia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Russia, Syria’s closest ally, circulated the draft resolution after it joined China on Tuesday in vetoing a draft resolution co-sponsored by Germany and Belgium to maintain aid deliveries through two border crossing points from Turkey for a year.

The current Security Council mandate for U,.N. cross-border deliveries expires Friday, and Germany and Belgium are expected to circulate a new proposal, likely for two crossings from Turkey for six months.

Whether the differences can be resolved in the next 48 hours remained to be seen.

Russia has argued that aid should be delivered from within Syria across conflict lines. But U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has insisted that the two crossings from Turkey to the northwest remain “a lifeline for millions of civilians whom the U.N. cannot reach by other means.”

David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, accused Russia and China of prioritizing “politics over humanitarian principles” with their vetoes and putting “millions of Syrian men, women and children at risk — even as COVID-19 cases are increasing across a country whose health system has been decimated by a decade of war.”

In January, Russia scored a victory for Syria, using its veto threat to force the Security Council to adopt a resolution reducing the number of crossing points for aid deliveries from four to just two, from Turkey to the northwest. It also cut in half the yearlong mandate that had been in place since cross-border deliveries began in 2014 to six months, as Russia insisted.

The defeated German-Belgian resolution had dropped a call for the re-opening of an Iraqi crossing to the northeast to deliver medical supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said: “Do not waste your time on efforts to reopen the closed cross-border points.”

The German-Belgian resolution would have extended the mandate for the two border crossings from Turkey to the northwest — Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa — for a year.

The Russian-drafted resolution would only authorize cross-border deliveries through the Bab al-Hawa crossing for six months.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun on Tuesday blamed unilateral sanctions against Syria, which have been imposed by the U.S. and the European Union, for exacerbating the country’s humanitarian situation and urged that they be lifted.

The Russian draft expressed “grave concern” at “the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures,” saying such measures “worsen the socioeconomic and humanitarian situations, undermine the livelihoods of civilians, and further compromise the capacity of Syria to ensure access to food, essential health supplies and medical support to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

It asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to provide a report on “direct and indirect impact of unilateral coercive measures” on humanitarian deliveries and Syria’s socioeconomic situation by Aug. 31.

The United States and the European Union have stated repeatedly that their sanctions have exemptions for humanitarian aid.

Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press

Syria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced the province surpasses one million COVID-19 tests Friday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

Most central Alberta communities under province’s enhanced measures list

.
Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Central zone active cases slightly up

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Russ and Luanne Carl are sharing about their experiences of fighting COVID-19 this past summer.
photo submitted
Stettler couple opens up about COVID-19 battle

Luanne and Russ Carl urge others to bolster personal safety measures amidst ongoing pandemic

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Traffic crosses over the Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver into Vancouver on July 2, 2015. Motorists would have to pay a fee to drive into downtown Vancouver under the city's plan to slow climate change but one expert warns it could pose financial hardship for some. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver’s climate plan ‘first 10 steps in a journey of 10,000,’ says expert

Almost 40 per cent of Vancouver’s carbon pollution comes from vehicles

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Most Read