Draft resolutions on crisis in Venezuela failed to pass UNSC

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On Thursday, two competing draft resolutions on the crisis in Venezuela failed to pass Security Council muster due first to vetoes from Russia and China on the United States draft, and then failure of the Russian draft to obtain the minimum number of votes required for passage.

But what does each draft focus on and what are some of the divergent views from various stakeholders in the room?

The failure of both drafts solidified a global split that often sees Russia and the United States on opposite sides of an issue.

The U.S. draft was put to a vote first  and called for the start of a peaceful political process leading to free, fair and credible presidential elections in the country while stressing the need for unhindered humanitarian access.

It received 9 votes in favour forcing vetoes from China and Russia backed by South Africa.

The Russians then put their draft up – in which they called for UN member states to fully comply with the UN Charter, called for the lifting of unilateral sanctions against Venezuela and for the immediate start of an inclusive political process in line with the Venezuelan constitution. And while that received just four votes in support, stinging sound bites were not in short supply.

Russia’s Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia says, “Perhaps the United States has another goal to enter into history – were this resolution to be adopted, this would be the first time in history when the Security Council would dismiss one and would appoint another president of a sovereign country. Is this world diplomacy in action? I’m not even speaking of the political component here. This is not even a matter of Maduro and Guaido, do you truly fail to understand that this is legally untenable and null and void. Is this thinly veiled trolling, is it a mockery of members of the Security Council. Those who plan to support the US draft, do you understand that you will become complicit in the legal theatre of the absurd.”

Elliot Abrams is the United States envoy to Venezuela who spoke about the safety of self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido and their strategy moving ahead.

“I believe you would see a very considerable reaction around the world if they detain or otherwise harm Interim President Guaido, I hope that’s enough of a restraint on their conduct. Our policy is to continue with what we’re doing. As a noted we delivered more humanitarian aid today, we’ll continue to try to get it in, we also announced more sanctions this week and there will be more after that, we will continue to put economic, political and diplomatic pressure on the regime and we think the international situation in Venezuela is really untenable, the only question is – are we talking about a matter of days or weeks or months and we hope its as little time as possible because when the situation changes, that’s when the Venezuelan people will begin to benefit first of all from liberty but secondly from direct economic improvement.”

South Africa’s Jerry Matjila after voting to bloc the U.S text and supporting the Russian draft, says “We have before us two divergent draft resolutions on the situation in Venezuela. This is unfortunate, as South Africa believes that the Security Council should be unified in its approach to supporting the people of Venezuela in finding a solution to the crisis. We must speak with one voice in assisting the Venezuelan people in weathering the humanitarian challenges faced as a result of the political and economic difficulties in their country. However, instead of bringing the Council and the people of Venezuela together, the resolutions illustrate how far this Council is from contributing to dealing with the crisis. The lack of unity of the Council on this matter widens the divisions and undermines the credibility of this Council to make a meaningful contribution.”

Peru is home to over 700 000 Venezuelan refugees, they back the United States and denounced the Russian text. Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra explains, “Peru did not vote in favour of the resolution for the following reasons because it does not take into account the basic aspects of the problem in Venezuela which is the existence of an illegitimate regime which has provoked one of the most serious humanitarian crises and exodus in the region, a result of its disastrous economic management and corruption. It also did not take into account the flagrant violation of human rights and individual freedoms or the urgency of holding free elections. Peru is fully committed to the Charter of the UN and its purposes and principles; we ratify that but we cannot accept an approach that only looks at some provisions of the Charter which seem to be relevant for this case.”

Venezuela’s Ambassador Samuel Moncada with the final word.

“The lack of support for the Russian draft is due to the present, current architecture of the council, European countries they join together in a colonial framework, acting along with the United States – Germany, France, Belgium, Poland and the UK along with the US, they have a circumstantial majority, this is not a permanent make-up of the SC, two years ago the vote would have been different, in the future we don’t know but right now they have the power to do so. My point is, don’t think that they represent the international community, they represent the Security Council at this point in time. The international community by the way is not a coalition made up by the United States that is pretending to substitute the actual international community which is 193 countries all together in the General Assembly.”