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Russia abstained from UN vote on Syria because of discontent over resolution preparation

Russia proposed to leave only a single, most important checkpoint, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to UN Dmitry Polyansky said

UNITED NATIONS, July 12. /TASS/. Russia abstained from the UN Security Council vote on extension of the trans-border humanitarian aid to Syria because of its discontent over the process of preparation of the document by Germany and Belgium, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to UN Dmitry Polyansky said, speaking at the Council meeting on the outcome of the vote.

The resolution was passed by the majority of votes, while Russia, China and the Dominican Republic abstained.

"I announce with regret that we abstained from the vote […] because we are disappointed by the way its authors conducted the process of its negotiation," he said.

"From the very beginning, this process was marred by sluggishness, hypocrisy, disrespect and even neglect to the set Security Council’s rules," the diplomat said, adding that Russia proposed to leave only a single, most important checkpoint.

"We could have come to this result much earlier," the diplomat said.

Responding to German Permanent Representative Christoph Heusgen’s objections, Polyansky explained what exactly he meant by "sluggishness and hypocrisy."

"Sluggishness is when we tell you on Monday already that the only way to aid all Syrians while preserving the nation’s sovereignty would be to preserve only one checkpoint, but you refuse to go this way and take us through several extra votes, painting Russia and China as enemies of the international community every time," he said.

The Saturday vote was the fifth attempt of the Security Council to extend the trans-border operations. The final resolution is extremely brief and rules "to extend Resolution 2139 by 12 months while excluding checkpoints Bab al-Salam (Turkish border), Al Ya’rubiah (Iraqi border) and Al Ramta (Jordanian border)." Therefore, the aid shipment will take place through a single checkpoint on the Turkish border - Bab al-Hawa.

Throughout the week, Russia has put to vote its own draft resolution, which implied extension of aid through a single checkpoint. However, the Western nations sought to insist on two checkpoints; besides, they disagreed with the clause condemning unilateral sanctions against Syria.

The UN Security Council introduced the trans-border operations in July of 2014. Moscow justifies the need to wrap up the mechanism by the situation on the ground which changed over the course of the last six years. More and more Syrian regions return under Damascus’s control, making it possible to deliver the aid in coordination with the Syrian government, in compliance with the international humanitarian law.