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Russia abstains from Security Council vote on aid to Syria bypassing Damascus

The resolution was supported by 13 member states

UN, December 14. /TASS/. Russia and China on Thursday abstained from the UN Security Council vote to extend the delivery of humanitarian cargo to Syria from the territory of neighboring states bypassing Damascus.

The resolution was supported by 13 member states. Russia and China abstained.

In line with the document, the so-called trans-border operations will be extended for one year and no permission from Syria’s official government is required for them.

The document demands that all sides provide free, unimpeded and stable access to humanitarian convoys of UN and its partners to any region and any group of population.

Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya said Russia did not support the mechanism, because it was "non-transparent," but decided not to block it for humanitarian reasons and following requests from Russia’s partners in the region.

"New factors on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic necessitate the need of this mechanism’s drastic overhaul with an eye on winding it up, gradually but inevitably," he said. "Our choice was based on the fact that this was not reflected in the resolution."

China’s UN Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu stressed that "the principle of non-politization of humanitarian assistance must be preserved."

"We need to fully respect sovereignty and integrity of Syria. Special attention should be paid to coordination with the Syrian government, in order to prevent the humanitarian cargo from falling into the hands of terrorists," he said. "Our concerns regarding those matters were not taken into account in full, we believe that this draft could have been adjusted."

Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari said his country opposed the resolution, because "Damascus remains the center of humanitarian aid coordination in Syria."

"The Syrian government’s approval for humanitarian deliveries from abroad are a basic principle, recorded in the UN General Assembly resolution," the Syrian envoy said.

"The UN monitoring mechanism has been unable to verify trans-border deliveries of humanitarian aid, which means that they may not reach those in need," he warned.