Estonia votes on UN Security Council for first time

The UN Security Council in New York. January 2020.
The UN Security Council in New York. January 2020. Source: Chine Nouvelle/SIPA/Scanpix

The reauthorization of a cross-border aid mechanism for Syria was put to a vote on Friday ahead of its expiration at midnight, marking the first time that Estonia voted as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The council voted to extend the cross-border authorization, although to a reduced extent, facing pressure from permanent council member Russia, who vetoed one draft resolution extending it last month.

Two options were on the table at the Security Council, one of which was sponsored by Germany, Belgium and Kuwait and the other by Russia.

A compromise resolution was passed with 11 votes in favor and none against. Four permanent council members, Russia, China, the U.S. and the U.K., abstained from the vote.

Under this resolution, which was approved for just half a year, humanitarian aid will be transported via two existing border crossings on the Syria-Turkey border. Under a previous mandate, which expired at midnight, humanitarian aid was passed through four border crossings in total.

Belgian and French representatives expressed disappointment over the outcome.

"Eleven million Syrians need humanitarian assistance," said Belgian Ambassador to the UN Marc Pectseen de Buytswerve.

"Syrians will die as a result of this resolution," said U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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