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Thu 23 Apr 2020 08:04 AM

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Saudi, Russian resolutions on pandemic blocked at UN General Assembly

The Saudi resolution largely reflected the conclusions of a March 26 summit of the G-20, which the Saudis currently chair

Saudi, Russian resolutions on pandemic blocked at UN General Assembly

The General Assembly cannot meet in New York because of the global health crisis so in late March it came up with a new way of considering resolutions.


Syria and Iran on Wednesday blocked adoption of a Saudi-proposed resolution in the UN General Assembly calling for global cooperation to counter the coronavirus pandemic its socio-economic fallout, diplomats said.

The Saudi text largely reflected the conclusions of a March 26 summit of the G-20, which the Saudis currently chair.

Also Wednesday, a Russian-proposed text on the pandemic was blocked by European countries and the US, diplomats said.

The text sought a commitment from UN member states "to face global challenges as good neighbours, refraining from implementing protectionist and discriminatory measures inconsistent with the World Trade Organization rules."

On April 3, Russia had already suffered the rejection of a draft resolution it submitted seeking the lifting of international sanctions while the world fights the pandemic.

Besides the US and EU countries, this latest Russian move was also blocked by two key US allies, Israel and South Korea.

The General Assembly cannot meet in New York because of the global health crisis so in late March it came up with a new way of considering resolutions.

When a text is proposed, after a waiting period, if no country objects it is classified as being approved.

If there are objections, then the text is defeated. This is what happened Wednesday with the Saudi and Russian draft resolutions.

Unlike votes held before the pandemic, which required a majority, this new system effectively gives all 193 UN members veto power over a given text.

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