Russia, China block Egypt-sponsored Security Council resolution on Syria

Tuesday 06-12-2016 01:04 PM

Security Council members voting in favour of measures presented by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to prevent and combat sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

CAIRO, Dec 6 (Aswat Masriya) - Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution drafted by Egypt, Spain and New Zealand on Monday that would have demanded a seven-day ceasefire in Aleppo and humanitarian aid access.

The proposed draft resolution received 11 votes in favour, to three against and one abstention.  Russia and China used their veto power, which is held only by the five permanent members, thus leading to a failed resolution.

The draft resolution demanded that all parties to the Syrian conflict cease “any and all attacks in the city of Aleppo, including with any weapons, including rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles, and including shelling and airstrikes,” 24 hours after the adoption of the resolution.

The ceasefire was intended to allow urgent humanitarian needs to be addressed “for a period of seven days.”  

“Not being a direct party in the conflict does not signify indifference on our part, on the contrary, we are focusing our attention on settlement and not exacerbating the conflict,” Egypt’s envoy to the UN Security Council Amr Abou al-Atta said in Monday's meeting.

Addressing local, regional and international parties, he questioned the reasons behind the ongoing struggle, adding that whatever the reasons, they would never make up for massive humanitarian losses on the Syrian front.

In October, Egypt voted in favour of two different resolutions addressing the Syrian conflict in the Security Council, sparking criticism regarding its stance on the conflict.

Egypt shrugged off criticism for its decision, saying it backs all efforts aimed at stopping the Syrian people’s tragedy, and explaining it voted for both resolutions as they both called for a ceasefire.

The two resolutions, one backed by France and the other by Russia, failed to be adopted by the Security Council after Russia vetoed the French resolution, which called for grounding military aircraft in Aleppo and unhindered humanitarian access to besieged areas in Syria.

Meanwhile, Moscow’s draft, which excluded a demand for an end of air strikes on Aleppo, failed to get a minimum of nine votes in favor.

Monday’s Security Council vote represents the sixth time Russia has vetoed a Security Council resolution on Syria since the conflict started in 2011 and the fifth time China has blocked action.

Russia justified the veto saying that “these kinds of pauses have been used by fighters to reinforce their ammunition and to strengthen their positions and this will only worsen the suffering of civilians,” according to Reuters.

Russian airstrikes have been a continuous occurrence in parts of Syria that are believed to be held by ‘rebels’ or anti-government forces. 

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as of Monday an estimated 31,500 people from Eastern Aleppo remained displaced within the entire city throughout the last six days after fighting broke out in the city. 

The UN stated it was ready to deliver aid “as soon as security and access guarantees can be obtained from all parties to the conflict.”

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