Russia blocks UNSC meeting on Syria

Meeting cancelled after Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Bolivia voted ‘no’
WASHINGTON: Russia on Monday blocked a meeting demanded by the UN Security Council on human rights violations in Syria.
The meeting, which was scheduled to be addressed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, was blocked by Russia, China and other countries who said the Security Council is assigned with ensuring international peace and security and should not be discussing human rights.
Russia had called for a procedural vote on whether to hold the meeting. Eight countries voted in favor, four (Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Bolivia) against and three abstained. The meeting was cancelled because under council rules, nine “yes” votes are required.
As a result, Security Council members voted to hold an informal briefing.
Earlier Monday, a letter was sent to all 15 Security Council members expressing strong concern about the failure to implement a resolution demanding a ceasefire throughout Syria.
It was signed by France, Kuwait, Sweden, Peru, Poland, the U.S., the U.K. and the Netherlands.
Russia last month also opposed a UN Security Council proposal calling for a one-month humanitarian ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta — a suburb of Damascus under siege by forces of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
Describing the proposal as “not realistic”, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, claimed that “thousands of terrorists” remain in Eastern Ghouta and its fight against terrorism would continue. -AA

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