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Russia, China use veto to defeat US resolution on Venezuela at UN Security Council

US envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams (C) attends a United Nations Security Council meeting on Venezuela on February 28, 2019. (Photos by AFP)

Russia and China have vetoed a US-sponsored resolution at the United Nations Security Council, which called for early presidential election in Venezuela amid ongoing unrest in the Latin American country.

The resolution, which supported Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, came up for vote at the 15-member council on Thursday and received the minimum nine “yes” votes.

The draft called for “the peaceful restoration of democracy” as well as “free and fair” presidential elections in Venezuela.

After months of economic and political clashes, Venezuela plunged further into chaos in January after Guaido, the former head of the country’s National Assembly, proclaimed himself “interim president” and urged President Nicolas Maduro to resign.

This while Maduro had just begun his second six-year term in office after a decisive election victory over the US-backed opposition.

Washington rushed to support Guaido and imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s oil industry. US President Donald Trump and other American officials have also threatened Caracas with military action.

Guaido has welcomed the support and has openly tried to contact the Trump administration and other regional governments to cement his position.

The US resolution on Thursday also called for unhindered delivery of “humanitarian aid” to Venezuela.

Maduro’s government has closed borders with Brazil and Colombia in order to block what US insists are aid shipments.

Russia, which supports Maduro, has warned that Washington is using the aid scenario as a cover to arm Guaido and his supporters and lay the foundation for a military intervention.

To ward off that possibility, Russia drafted its own UNSC resolution on Thursday but failed to get the required votes to pass it.

Moscow’s draft expressed concern at US threats to use force against Venezuela and its interference in the Latin American country’s domestic affairs.

(L-R) Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Ja'afari, Sacha Sergio Llorenti Soliz, Bolivia's UN envoy, and Venezuelan Ambassador to the UN Samuel Moncada speak after a Security Council meeting on February 28, 2019 at the UN in New York. 

The measure also stated that it was only in the Maduro government’s power to decide whether any international assistance was needed.

Only four council members voted in favor of the Russian draft, seven opposed it while four other members abstained from voting.

Besides Russia and China, countries like Iran and Turkey have also backed Maduro.

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