In Two Separate Votes, Security Council Fails to Adopt Resolutions Extending Cross-Border Mechanism for Humanitarian Aid Delivery into Syria

The Security Council today failed to adopt two separate resolutions that would have extended its authorization for a mechanism to bring life-saving humanitarian aid into Syria.

During a 10 July videoconference meeting*, the Council announced that a draft resolution submitted by Belgium and Germany (document S/2020/667), which received 13 votes in favour, was not adopted owing to the negative vote of two permanent Council members.

By that text, the Council would have renewed for six more months the mandate of a mechanism, initiated by resolution 2165 (2014), that has enabled the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to deliver aid into Syria through the Bab al-Salam and Bab al-Hawa crossings in Turkey only, excluding Al Yarubiyah and Al‑Ramtha on Syria’s borders with Iraq and Jordan, through which deliveries had moved from 2014 to early January 2020.

Further, the Council would have requested the Secretary‑General, in view of the grave risk posed by COVID-19, to report by no later than the end of August on the impact of the pandemic on the need for and the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including medical and surgical supplies, to people in need throughout Syria, including non-government-controlled areas.

Voting on a second text, submitted by the Russian Federation (document S/2020/683), the Council rejected it by a vote of 4 in favour (China, Russian Federation, South Africa, Viet Nam) to 7 against (Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States) with 4 abstentions (Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia).

By the Russian text, the Council would have extended the mechanism’s mandate for 12 months, until 10 July 2021, and would have kept closed the Al Yarubiya and Al-Ramtha crossings, as well as shut the Bab al-Salam crossing for aid delivery.

It also would have asked the Secretary-General to report by no later than the end of August on the impact of unilateral coercive measures against Syria on its socioeconomic situation and humanitarian deliveries from outside the country, including through humanitarian agencies, and on economic and humanitarian cooperation between the Government of Syria and other Member States.

Today’s outcome followed two failed attempts on 7 and 8 July to renew authorization for the cross-border mechanism, which expires today.  (See Press Release SC/14244 of 8 July.)

[Security Council resolutions are currently adopted through a written procedure vote under temporary, extraordinary and provisional measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as set out in a letter (document S/2020/253) by its President for March (China).]


* Based on information received from the Security Council Affairs Division.

For information media. Not an official record.