UN / SYRIA CROSSING POINTS

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20-Dec-2019 00:03:07
The UN Security Council failed to adopt two competing draft resolutions aimed at authorizing cross-border deliveries of humanitarian assistance in Syria. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / SYRIA CORSSING POINTS
TRT: 3:07
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / RUSSIAN / NATS

DATELINE: 20 DECEMBER 2019, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

20 DECEMBER 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2. Pan left, Security Council Members voting in favour of humanitarian co-penholders’ draft
3. Med shot, Russian ambassador voting against humanitarian co-penholders’ draft
4. Pan left, Security Council Members voting in favour of Russian draft
5. Med shot, US ambassador voting against Russian draft
6. Wide shot, Security Council Members abstaining on Russian draft
7. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“We all cannot disregard the position of the recipient country. Initially, the humanitarian troika proposed a draft year and year providing for automatic extension of the resolution, not providing for it to be reviewed or tailored to reflect the situation. It continued, and still has, provisions that have nothing to do with humanitarian considerations. This is an approach that is dictated, in our view, by purely political motivations.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“Our document specifically extends the cross-border mechanism. Previously we refrained from supporting it, but we did not block it given the humanitarian needs of Syria, which we acknowledge. This year we stand ready to support it. This provides for access to humanitarian assistance in the northwest of Syria, where such assistance remains necessary. We have done our step to meet colleagues’ concerns and accommodate them. Second and third drafts were sent out by the humanitarian troika which continue to have provisions that are divorced from reality. This is not an honest approach in our view.”
10. Med shot, Chinese ambassador
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Kelly Craft, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“The consequences of the Russian Federation and China’s vetoes of this Security Council resolution will be disastrous. This decision is reckless, irresponsible and cruel. Right now, in Syria, four million people depend on the UN’s cross-border assistance mechanism for medicine, shelter, and food. There is no justification imaginable for any member of this Security Council leaving vulnerable Syrian civilians with fewer means of securing vital aid.”
12. Med shot, Russian ambassador
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Kelly Craft, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Russia and China’s vote demonstrates a willingness to turn a blind eye to the brutal conditions the Assad regime continues to subject its own people to. And signals that Russia and China, while professing to support Resolution 2254, are openly facilitating the Regime’s pursuit of a military victory.”
14. Wide shot, Security Council
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations:
“There are more than four million people in need of cross-border assistance in Syria. Today the Security Council has failed them. This is a sad day for the Syrian people.”
16. Wide shot, German ambassador leaving stakeout

STORYLINE:

The UN Security Council failed to adopt two competing draft resolutions aimed at authorizing cross-border deliveries of humanitarian assistance in Syria.

The first draft was proposed by Germany, Belgium and Kuwait – the humanitarian co-penholders – received 13 votes in favour but was vetoed by Russia and China. The draft would have reauthorized the use of three of the four border crossing currently mandated for cross-border humanitarian operations.

The second draft proposed by Russia was also not adopted as it did not receive enough votes in favour. The draft received five votes in favour – Russia, China, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, and Cote d’Ivoire – six against – United States, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Poland, and Peru – and four abstentions – Germany, Kuwait, Indonesia, and the Dominican Republic.

Ahead of the vote, Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said his delegation would vote against the humanitarian troika draft as it fails to reflect the changes that occurred on the ground since 2014. He said cross-border operations were designed for temporary use, adding that the Syrian Government had restored its control over much of the Syrian territory. He stressed the need to revisit the parameters of humanitarian aid delivery in the country, adding that the Government’s position must be taken into account, which refuses the mechanism as it stands.

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“We all cannot disregard the position of the recipient country. Initially, the humanitarian troika proposed a draft year and year providing for automatic extension of the resolution, not providing for it to be reviewed or tailored to reflect the situation. It continued, and still has, provisions that have nothing to do with humanitarian considerations. This is an approach that is dictated, in our view, by purely political motivations.”

The Russian ambassador said the draft proposed by his country was based on purely humanitarian considerations and keeps cross-border operations in place where they are needed.

SOUNDBITE (Russian) Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russian Federation to the United Nations:
“Our document specifically extends the cross-border mechanism. Previously we refrained from supporting it, but we did not block it given the humanitarian needs of Syria, which we acknowledge. This year we stand ready to support it. This provides for access to humanitarian assistance in the northwest of Syria, where such assistance remains necessary. We have done our step to meet colleagues’ concerns and accommodate them. Second and third drafts were sent out by the humanitarian troika which continue to have provisions that are divorced from reality. This is not an honest approach in our view.”

United States ambassador Kelly Craft said she was shocked at the result following the vote on the humanitarian co-penholders’ draft. She said, “The consequences of the Russian Federation and China’s vetoes of this Security Council resolution will be disastrous. This decision is reckless, irresponsible and cruel. Right now, in Syria, four million people depend on the UN’s cross-border assistance mechanism for medicine, shelter, and food. There is no justification imaginable for any member of this Security Council leaving vulnerable Syrian civilians with fewer means of securing vital aid.”

Craft said the foundation of this matter is that Syrian President Bashar Assad chose to starve his own people for years to force them to submit to his rule, adding that Damascus fails to meet any government’s basic responsibilities to promote and protect the peace, prosperity, and health of its own citizens.

SOUNDBITE (English) Kelly Craft, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Russia and China’s vote demonstrates a willingness to turn a blind eye to the brutal conditions the Assad regime continues to subject its own people to. And signals that Russia and China, while professing to support Resolution 2254, are openly facilitating the Regime’s pursuit of a military victory.”

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, German ambassador Christoph Heusgen said the Security Council had today “failed” more than four million people in need of cross-border assistance in Syria. He added, “This is a sad day for the Syrian people.”

Speaking on behalf of his co-penholders, Kuwait and Belgium, Heusgen said for weeks they had conducted thorough and transparent negotiations and came back with a balanced proposal. He stressed that the draft they proposed was based on humanitarian needs on the ground and not political considerations. The German ambassador underscored that the three co-penholders would continue to work to this end and called on all Security Council members to uphold their responsibility and take action.

The cross-border mechanism currently in place expires on 10 January 2020.
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