UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council has failed to adopt two rival resolutions on Syria, leaving key powers in the 15-member body divided over how to end the bloodshed in the country’s city of Aleppo.
Among the two resolutions, Russia vetoed the one proposed by France and Spain that demanded an end to air strikes over Aleppo. Eleven voted in favour, two against, with two abstentions.
The second resolution, proposed by Russia was also not adopted by the Council as it failed to achieve a majority of its members voting in favour. The Russian text called upon
all the parties to cease hostilities and open humanitarian access in order to enhance efforts to combat terrorism. It received four “yes” votes, nine “against,” with two abstentions.
Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the current rotating council president, said before the votes that members were engaging in “one of the strangest spectacles” in the Security Council, because they were meeting knowing that neither resolution would be adopted.
“This waste of time is inadmissible,” he said.
At the Security Council meeting Saturday, several members also recalled the recent briefing by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who had said that if urgent action is not taken to address the situation in the war-torn country, thousands of Syrians would be killed and towns, such as eastern Aleppo could be totally destroyed by the end of this year.
At the briefing, de Mistura had also stressed that the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) is a very important entity and that the suspension of bilateral negotiations between the two-chairs ‘United States and Russia’ “should not and will not” affect the existence of the Group.
He had also emphasized the importance of the humanitarian task force, as well as the possibility of a body that would effectively and “perhaps more stringently” support future cessation of hostilities.
The UN estimates that five years on, the Syrian conflict has driven more than 4.8 million refugees to neighbouring countries, hundreds of thousands in Europe, and displaced 6.6 million people inside the Syria against a pre-war population of over 20 million. Well over 200,000 people are believed to have died.