Russia, China veto UN Idlib cease-fire resolution


Russia and China vetoed on Friday a UN Security Council resolution for a cease-fire in northwest Syria’s Idlib province. 

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described the document as “an attempt to take the heat off the terrorists”.

Zakharova said the resolution, presented to the UN Security Council on Thursday, was unrelated with the concern about the safety of civilians in the governorate, which she added severely suffers from the presence of militants.

Further, the project “completely ignored the efforts made by the ‘Troika’ of Astana guarantors [Russia, Iran, Turkey] to promote a political settlement in Syria,” she said.

The proposal was put forth by Kuwait, Germany, and Belgium, and demanded an end to all hostilities in Syria’s last opposition-held enclave without exception, providing for repressive measures against those who violated the ceasefire.

“The authors of the project were not stopped even by the fact that a number of such organizations [in Idlib] are recognized as terrorists by the decision of the UN Security Council, prescribing to wage an irreconcilable struggle with them”, she added.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. 

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN officials.   

U.S. actions in the Middle East

Commenting on a drone attack this week on Saudi Aramco oil facilities, Zakharova said the incapability of U.S. air defense systems to repel the aggression was “a self-exposure”.

“We remember how more than a year ago, the ‘great’ American missiles did not hit the target in Syria, and now the ‘great’ American air defense systems did not repel the attack.

These are all links in the same chain. I think a self-exposure is happening on the example of a particular region in the context of what the United States does and can offer to the modern world,” she said.

Underlining that all actions in the region should promote stability as an ultimate goal, she said that Washington’s behavior “engaging in all domains” resembled more a “global collapse”, rather than a “policy” and resulted in more imbalance.

On Saturday, drones hit two Aramco units in the north of Saudi Arabia in an attack claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Since 2015, the Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Thousands of Yemenis were killed and the country was pushed to the brink of famine.

In recent months, Houthis, whose mid and long-range ballistic missiles are usually intercepted by Saudi air defense systems, have targeted certain strategic parts of Saudi Arabia with armed drones.  

Russia urges US to restore diplomatic ties with Venezuela

Turning to Venezuela, Zakharova welcomed a recent agreement between the Venezuelan government and “moderate” opposition.

Hailing the accord as “paving the path to solving the contradictions”, she called on the U.S. to accept Venezuela’s offer to restore diplomatic ties.

Since the beginning of the year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido engaged in a power battle, while country’s economy has been in precipitous decline following a global downturn in the price of crude oil — the country’s main export.
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