Explanation of Vote on the Russian Draft UN Security Council Resolution on Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Aid

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
July 8, 2020


The United States of America voted against the draft resolution authored by the Russian Federation today. We are disappointed, but not surprised, by Russia’s disingenuous attempt to put forward a resolution designed to protect the murderous Assad regime and divide this Council.

Yesterday, we voted with 13 members of the Council – an overwhelming majority – to take a principled and humanitarian stand in support of the UN’s impartial, apolitical, and needs-based recommendation to re-authorize the existing cross-border mechanism – two crossings in the northwest – for 12 months. This was, quite literally, the bare minimum the Council should have done to help the Syrian people.

What Russia has put forward today is a text that spreads lies about the effectiveness of Assad-controlled cross-line assistance, while promoting the false narrative that sanctions are to blame for the humanitarian crisis rather than Assad’s vile behavior. Moscow’s immoral proposal cuts the number of border crossings down to just one and only for six months.

Their draft resolution has no correlation to the situation on the ground and blatantly defies the explicit and fact-based recommendations of the UN Secretary-General, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and countless international NGOs operating in Syria. It is filled with baseless propaganda aimed at bolstering the Assad regime’s control over UN humanitarian assistance even though we all know Assad uses it as a weapon of war and political retribution.

This resolution is a repeat performance from six months ago, straight from Moscow’s extortion playbook. Russia wanted to play politics and make a mockery of this Council, and they’ve done it – once again – at the expense of millions of Syrian lives. For the People’s Republic of China to join them in this farce is indefensible. Citizens of both countries should be ashamed by the actions of their governments – and they should speak out and hold them accountable.

While we are disgusted by the utterly irresponsible and heartless action of Russia and China, it’s important that we point out that they are isolated in their despicable position. Yesterday, every other member of this Council put the Syrian people first and voted in favor of a compromise text that accurately reflected the situation on the ground and authorized the remaining two border crossings for 12 months. Every other member of this Council – 13 of us – negotiated in good faith to find a principled way forward to get the Syrian people life-saving humanitarian aid. We thank our colleagues for their moral stand and conviction.

Today, the United States was again joined by a majority of this Council in denying Russia and China the votes necessary to score political points with the Assad regime. Since December, we have spoken out against Russia and China’s support of Assad’s siege and starve campaign. We will not tolerate this. The United States will always advocate for the Syrian people.