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Iran Press TV

Russia, China veto Western-backed UNSC resolution on Syria aid

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 11 July 2020 6:08 AM

Russia and China have for the second time this week blocked a Western-sponsored UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution to extend aid deliveries across the border from Turkey into northwest Syria amid concerns that the move violates the war-torn country's sovereignty.

On Friday, Russia and China vetoed the Belgian-German draft resolution, which would have kept two border crossings from Turkey - Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salam - open for an additional six months.

It came hours before the expiry of the UN cross-border delivery mechanism to Syria, which was set up in 2014 and renewed ever since.

Moscow and Beijing argue that the mechanism violates Syria's sovereignty and that aid should be channelled through the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Concerns have also grown over Western efforts, which are made under the guise of humanitarian assistance, to support Takfiri terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces.

Germany and Belgium said in a joint statement after the vote that they remain committed to ensure what they called the "critical lifeline" to "millions of people in dire need of cross-border assistance in Syria."

China said the US sanctions are to blame for Syria's collapsing economy.

"Humanitarian situation in Syria is dire largely because of the US unilateral sanctions," the Chinese mission to the UN tweeted. "The so-called humanitarian exemption brings no difference. It is more urgent than ever for the US to lift its ruthless sanctions against the Syrian people."

Also on Friday, Russia put forward a rival draft of its own that authorized the Syria aid operation only through the Bab al-Hawa crossing, but for one year.

However, the UN Security Council failed to adopt the Russian document as it received seven 'no' votes and four 'yes' votes, with four abstentions.

Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy stressed that Bab al-Hawa "accounts for more than 85 per cent of total volume of operations."

"We categorically reject claims that Russia wants to stop humanitarian deliveries to the Syrian population in need. Our draft is the best proof that these allegations are groundless," he tweeted.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft claimed that the Russian draft resolution "turns a blind eye to Syrians in dire need of humanitarian aid & makes a mockery of the UNSC."

Polyanskiy replied, "There's one thing, Kelly, that you preferred not to mention in your philippic - our draft that you killed actually PROLONGED CBM for 1yr for the most important border crossing in #Idlib. Now your irresponsible maneuvering puts even this arrangement at risk!"

On Tuesday, Russia and China vetoed an initial German-Belgium resolution authorizing the two Turkey crossings for one year.

Adopted in 2014, Security Resolution 2165 enabled UN agencies and their implementing partners to send humanitarian assistance across Jordan, Iraq and Turkey to the areas controlled by anti-Damascus militants in Syria.

In January 2020, the UNSC adopted a resolution extending the cross-border aid mechanism for six months but reducing the number of checkpoints from four to two.

Russia believes that at a time when the Syrian government retakes more regions, international aid to the militant-held areas can be delivered in coordination with Damascus.

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