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‘Can’t offer help with one hand & smother with the other’: Russia slams West & its allies after anti-sanction draft fails at UNGA

‘Can’t offer help with one hand & smother with the other’: Russia slams West & its allies after anti-sanction draft fails at UNGA
Moscow has blasted the decision by a group of countries, including the US, to block a draft resolution calling for an end to unilateral sanctions on developing countries gripped by the coronavirus pandemic.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) rejected two draft resolutions on Wednesday, aimed at supporting the battle against the Covid-19. Both of the Russia-sponsored and the Riadh-championed drafts received at least one “nay” after they were circulated among the body’s members on Wednesday. A single objection is enough for a draft to be defeated in line with the special voting protocol in effect at the UNGA amid the pandemic.

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While voting was by secret ballot, AP reported, citing diplomatic sources, that the Moscow-sponsored draft failed to win support from the EU, UK, US, Canada and South Korea. Meanwhile, the Ukranian Foreign Ministry boasted on Facebook that Kiev was the driving force behind the effort to shoot down the motion, which was aimed at relaxing the burden of sanctions on already-disadvantaged nations that are caught up in the fight against Covid-19.

The draft, which is an amended version of the Russian draft declaration rejected by the US, EU,  the UK, Ukraine and Georgia in early April, appealed to the Group of 77 and China when arguing for the lifting of unilateral punitive measures.

In its statement from April 3, the group, which represents some 130 countries, urged the international community “to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries.”

Commenting on the draft’s failure, the Russian mission at the UN argued that the nations that opposed the document “clearly demonstrated that their calls for solidarity and providing help to the countries with limited resources in order to combat Covid-19 were nothing more than a propaganda maneuver.”

 One cannot be helping someone with one hand and smothering them with the other.

The mission went on to note that by rejecting the draft, the West and its allies “failed to meet the relevant call of the secretary-general,” who previously called for sanctions to be rolled back in the face of the pandemic.

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“This is the time for solidarity, not exclusion,” Antonio Guterres wrote in a letter to the G20 in early March. However, Washington has not been heeding the call. Although the US offered humanitarian help to Iran and even said it could ship“excess ventilators” there, Tehran rejected the offer as an empty gesture, insisting that it would be better for the US to lift an array of crippling financial sanctions that prevent the Islamic Republic from purchasing life-saving equipment on its own.

US sanctions have also taken a toll on essential transactions related to the fight against coronavirus in Cuba, which is suffering from what it described as a “genocidal blockade.”

The Russia-sponsored draft also highlighted the importance of ensuring that the hardest-hit nations have access to healthcare, medicine as well as to financial aid and humanitarian assistance.

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