UN tears Syria again with 13th Russian veto

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United States (United States) – Russia and China on Thursday vetoed a resolution of Germany, Belgium and Kuwait imposing a cease-fire in Idleb, Syria, approved by 12 countries, illustrating again the deep division of the UN Security Council on this issue.

This is Russia's 13th veto to a resolution on Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. Equatorial Guinea, a non-permanent member, abstained in the vote.

The text had been the subject of difficult negotiations for a fortnight. Russia has argued unsuccessfully that the ceasefire will include exemptions forterrorist operations"conducted in the province of Idleb (north-west).

Unacceptable however for the authors of the resolution as this would have opened to multiple interpretations and would have led to possible new attacks of civilian sites in Syria.

The three co-authors had accepted in a text described as "purely humanitarian"a mention evoking"terrorist measures"provided they respect international law," said the German ambassador to the UN, Christoph Heusgen.

"Bombing hospitals, schools and civilian facilities is not involved in the fight against terrorism", launched his Belgian counterpart, Marc Pecsteen from Buytswerve.

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, denounced on his side "the surge of humanitarian activism"other members of the Security Council at every step forward in the recovery of territories by the Syrian regime, supported by Russia.

"It's the same song, terrorists turn into opposition representatives", quipped the diplomat."The resolution was doomed to fail and you deliberately divide the Security Council"before the start of next week's UN General Assembly at the level of Heads of State and Government, he accused.

– Competitive text rejected –

"We must not politicize the humanitarian issue", asked his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Jun, asking for everyone's participation in the reconstruction of Syria.

All the countries that voted in favor of the resolution have more or less deplored the blocking of Russia and China. The United States has warned of a new military offensive in Idleb and urged the UN to hold those responsible for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in north-west Syria responsible.

Before the meeting, the French ambassador, Nicolas de Rivière, had stressed the link between an end of conflict and the reconstruction of the country.

"As long as there is no solution on the humanitarian and political aspects, France, Europe and several other countries will not participate in the reconstruction."the country, estimated at 400 billion dollars, he warned.

Sporadic strikes continue in Idleb after four months of bombardment by the Syrian regime. The UN has not stopped since the spring to warn about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in this province where live some 3 million people including 1 million children.

According to Ursula Mueller, an official with the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, "the humanitarian situation remains alarming"in the Syrian province with"about 400,000 people having fled their homes between May and August".

Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja'afari, denounced a draft resolution "which has nothing to do with the proclaimed goal"humanitarian aid."ignore the cause of the conflict, terrorism", he said.

In the wake of their veto, Russia and China put to the vote a rival text also imposing a ceasefire.

But unlike the first text, the latter specified that "the cessation of hostilities does not apply to military operations against individuals, groups or entities associated with terrorist groups".

As expected, the resolution was rejected, not collecting the 9 votes out of 15 essential to its adoption.

The result of the vote represents a serious setback for Moscow and Beijing, only to have voted in his favor. Four countries abstained – Indonesia, South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea – the last nine members of the Council voting against.


No negotiation took place on this text, denounced, ulcerated, the German ambassador.

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