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28 Feb, 2019 20:28

Russian, US resolutions on Venezuela fail at UN Security Council

Russian, US resolutions on Venezuela fail at UN Security Council

Russia and China vetoed a US resolution on Venezuela at the the United Nations Security Council, expressing concerns over external interference in affairs of a sovereign state. A Russian draft also failed.

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia slammed the US resolution as “the culmination of the American show of double standards regarding Venezuela.”

He insisted that the US knew from the start its document had no chance of passing and was only put together to justify further complaints that the access of humanitarian aid into Venezuela is being denied.

“We have serious concerns that today’s [UNSC] meeting may be used as a step in preparing an actual, not humanitarian, intervention into Venezuela,” the envoy said.

The US draft blamed the government of President Nicolas Maduro for causing an “economic collapse” in Venezuela, which has sparked a migrant and refugee crisis. Referring to the authorities in Caracas as the “regime,” the document urged to “start a peaceful political process” that would result in “free, fair and credible presidential elections,” while denouncing the May presidential vote as “neither free, nor fair.”

Speaking at the UNSC, US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, accused those who opposed the US-sponsored draft for standing with Maduro at the expense of the Venezuelan people.

“By voting against this resolution, some members of the council continue to shield Maduro and his cronies and prolong the suffering of Venezuelan people,” Abrams said.

Washington would not give up on its attempts to push for a “peaceful transition to democracy” in Venezuela and deliver ‘humanitarian’ aid to the crisis-hit country, Abrams said.

The United States will pursue all avenues to increase humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans both inside and outside their country.

The Venezuelan authorities believe the aid deliveries initiated by the US to be a cover for supporting a coup or preparing grounds for an intervention – a tactic Abrams has used elsewhere, for example in Nicaragua, in the 1980s.

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The US-proposed resolution is "seriously inconsistent" with China's position, Beijing's envoy said, voting against it. 

"Venezuelan affairs should be decided by the Venezuelan people," Wu Haitao explained the decision. "China opposes external forces interfering in Venezuelan internal affairs and opposes military intervention in Venezuela."

The US draft resolution garnered nine votes, while Russia, China and South Africa voted against the text. Indonesia, Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast abstained. 

The council then voted on the Russian draft supporting a political solution, which failed with seven votes against it. A "no" vote by any one of the five permanent members – US, UK, France, Russia and China – is considered a veto, killing the proposal automatically.

The Russian draft suggested that the Security Council should express concern over civilian deaths in Venezuela and urge all political forces there to commit to resolving the situation.

The draft was similar to a joint statement on the violence in Haiti, which the US supported a few days ago. But when it came to Venezuela, the Americans “killed off” the Russian proposal by adding remarks condemning the government of Nicolas Maduro and making other changes, said Dmitry Polyansky, the Russian deputy UN envoy.

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