NEW YORK, Dec 20 (KUNA) -- Russia and China on Friday used their veto power to block a UN resolution drafted and submitted by Kuwait, Germany and Belgium to renew UN mandate for the cross-border delivery of vital aid to Syria through neighboring countries.
Although the remaining 13 UNSC member states have voted in favor of the draft, the Russian and Chinese vetoes literally killed it.
A UNSC resolution needs a minimum nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France to pass.
The draft resolution called for extending an existing mechanism for delivery of aid to Syrians through four crossings: two in Turkey and one in Jordan and Iraq to one year. It also suggested adding a third crossing in Turkey.
It also demands all warring parties to allow unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Syria.
It urged all parties to abide by their respective obligations as the international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Russia and China, however, presented a rival resolution that envisaged renewing the mechanism for only six months and sending aid only through the two crossing in of Turkey.
Since 2014 the United Nations and aid groups have crossed into Syria from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan at four places annually authorized by the Security Council. In a bid to compromise with Russia, the Jordanian crossing point was dropped by Belgium, Kuwait and Germany from their draft.
The current authorization for the four border crossings in Turkey, Iraq and Jordan ends on January 10, so the Security Council could still attempt to reach an agreement, though some diplomats acknowledged this could now be difficult.
Speaking to the UNSC ahead of the vote, Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Assistant Secretary?General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller demanded the renewal of the mechanism.
Muller warned that the scale of humanitarian needs in Syria will remain vast in 2020, with an estimated 11 million civilians projected to require assistance on a regular basis and five million in acute need of help.
She stressed that the UN secretary general is counting on Council members to ensure that the United Nations is authorized to meet the needs of all requiring humanitarian assistance, including by the swift renewal of the modalities set out in resolution 2165 (2014) and subsequent resolutions.
"Your timely renewal of the cross?border resolution is vital to ensure that lifesaving work in Syria continues," she added. (end) asf.ibi