UNITED NATIONS: With Pakistan abstaining, the U.N. General Assembly Thursday adopted a western resolution that blames Russia for the escalating humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and demanded an immediate halt to hostilities, especially attacks on civilians and their homes, schools and hospitals.
The resolution, which was backed by more than 90 countries, received 140 votes in favour to five against, with 38 abstentions, including China.
Russia had denounced the resolution as “anti-Russian” and accused its supporters of not really being concerned about the humanitarian situation on the ground, saying they want to politicize aid.
The resolution, introduced by Ukraine, deplored the “dire humanitarian consequences” of Russia’s aggression which it says is “on a scale that the international community has not seen in Europe in decades.” It deplored Russia’s shelling, airstrikes and “besiegement” of densely populated cities, including the southern city of Mariupol, and demands unhindered access for humanitarian aid.
The 193-member Assembly vote followed the Security Council’s failure on Wednesday to pass a Russian resolution that would have acknowledged Ukraine’s growing humanitarian needs — but without mentioning Russia’s invasion.
The 15-member Council acted few hours after the General Assembly started considering a separate resolution titled “Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine,” which was drafted by Ukraine and two dozen other countries.
Also on Thursday, the 193-member Assembly took no action on a competing South African resolution, which didn’t mention Russia but focused on providing humanitarian aid to the people affected by the Ukrainian conflict.
Ukraine, citing rule 91 of Assembly’s rules of procedure, said that no action be taken on the South African resolution as one text has already been adopted.
The motion, which was put to vote, received 50 votes in favour to 67 against, with 36 abstentions, thus failing to get the required majority and consequently the Assembly took no action on the South African draft. Pakistan and China voted in favour that the Assembly act on that resolution.
Pakistan UN Ambassador Munir Akram, in his speech before the vote, called for an an “agreed outcome,” which can facilitate the promotion of humanitarian help to civilians in Ukraine, to the refugees and displaced people, including foreign nationals and students, on the basis of humanitarian principles and without discrimination.
The Pakistani envoy also briefed the General Assembly about position taken by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at its meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday. ,
The OIC Islamabad Declaration said, in part: “We urge both sides to engage in meaningful dialogue with the purpose of finding a solution to the present conflict. We express the willingness of OIC member states to support and facilitate the dialogue process between all sides, if requested.”
“Such an agreed outcome,” Ambassador Akram said, “should not be impeded by political considerations.”
“A divided outcome will not yield the humanitarian objectives we all desire,” the Pakistani envoy added.
Before and after the vote, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia and U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield argued about Russia’s military action and its decision to even draft a humanitarian resolution.
Nebenzia told the council that Russia’s resolution, like other humanitarian resolution, “is not politicized.”
Thomas-Greenfield countered that Russia was “attempting to use this council to provide cover for its brutal actions.”