UN: Aid renewal to Syria fails due to Russia’s veto

United Nations (BLAZETRENDS).- The UN Security Council did not reach an agreement on Tuesday to extend the mechanism that allows the supply of humanitarian aid from Turkey to the opposition areas of northwest Syria, after Russia vetoed a proposal compromise and that its alternative text did not receive the minimum support required.

The United Nations authorization for humanitarian convoys to use the Bab al Hawa border crossing had expired last midnight, so that access road, considered key for the delivery of assistance to just over 4 million people, is closed for now. people.

These are residents of areas in the northwest outside the control of the Syrian government, heavily affected by the war and which were also among the most affected by the earthquakes of last February.

After the earthquakes, the Syrian authorities allowed the UN to open two other crossings for six months, the Bab al Salam and the Al Raae crossings, some steps that will remain operational until at least August 13 despite the closure. from Bab al Hawa, which was the main transit point.

Originally established in 2014, the cross-border aid mechanism originally had four points to provide aid to the population of opposition areas, but the insistence of Damascus – channeled through the Security Council through Russia – was reduced to leaving only one crossing.

With the lack of agreement this Tuesday, the entire mechanism is officially stopped, which remains at the expense of the delegations continuing to negotiate and reaching some kind of understanding.

diplomatic clash

After years in which each renewal had led to a harsh diplomatic clash between Russia and other countries, on this occasion a compromise was not reached even at the last moment.

First, Moscow vetoed a resolution proposed by Brazil and Switzerland that would have renewed the authorization to use Bab al Hawa for nine months and which was supported by 13 of the 15 countries on the Council.

That resolution was an attempt to compromise with the Russian authorities, since both the UN itself, as well as the humanitarian organizations and most of the members supported a one-year extension.

The body then voted on an alternative proposed by Russia, which would have kept the crossing open for six months, but which included certain modifications considered unacceptable by several member states.

That second text obtained only two votes in favor (Russia and China), three against (United States, France and the United Kingdom) and ten abstentions, so it did not reach the minimum of nine supports necessary to be approved.

The Russian ambassador, Vasili Nebenzia, made it clear that his country is not going to accept any extension without changes to the mechanism and that the only alternative for it to continue working is to give the green light to the “corrections” that his country wants to make.

On the other side, the Western powers harshly attacked Moscow for its veto and demanded that it explain why it has decided to deny humanitarian aid to millions of Syrians.

In recent years, every time this UN authorization had to be renewed, Russia had pressured to close this operation and for all aid to be channeled from inside Syria, that is, to depend on the Government of Bashar al Assad.

Meanwhile, humanitarian organizations and most of the international community regard the cross-border mechanism as vital.

“Russia’s cynical veto of the vital cross-border aid line for millions of Syrians is a painful reminder that decisions on humanitarian assistance cannot be trusted to the Security Council. The delivery of aid should be based on needs, not politics,” said Floriane Borel of the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a statement.

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