Russia vetoes UN resolution citing Iran sanctions violation

A revised draft drops condemnation of Iran, which Russia opposed.

26 February 2018 | 23:53

Source: Associated Press

  • Source: Associated Press
  • Last update: 26 February 2018 | 23:53

This photo shows Russia's diplomat at the UN. (AFP Photo)

UNITED NATIONS: Russia has vetoed a British-drafted U.N. resolution that promised action against violations of a U.N. arms embargo on Yemen and pointed to a report by experts that cited Iran as a violator.

Monday’s vote was 11-2 with two abstentions on the draft that would also extend sanctions against Yemen and the mandate of the expert panel monitoring them.

Russia then put forward a resolution to extend sanctions and the experts’ work that made no mention of Iran or the panel’s findings. It was adopted unanimously.

Britain’s deputy U.N. ambassador Jonathan Allen had urged adoption of the resolution saying council members should “shy away from calling out those who violate” sanctions.

But Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow could not accept “uncorroborated conclusions” by the panel. He said the British draft would be “dangerous” and “escalate regional tensions.”

Security Council members were trying Monday to compromise on a British-drafted resolution that promises action against violations of a U.N. arms embargo on Yemen and points to a report by experts that cites Iran as a violator.

A revised draft drops condemnation of Iran, which Russia opposed.

But it still refers to the report in January by the U.N. panel of experts which said Iran violated the 2015 arms embargo by failing “to take the necessary measures” to prevent the direct or indirect supply of missiles and drones to Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The experts examined missile remnants fired into Saudi Arabia by the Houthis last year and said many “are consistent with those of the Iranian designed and manufactured Qiam-1 missile.”

Britain’s deputy U.N. ambassador Jonathan Allen told reporters Monday that the British draft reflects “the very serious concerns set out by the U.N. panel of experts” and “makes clear Iranian non-compliance.”

The draft expresses “particular concern” at the experts’ report that “weapons of Iranian origin were introduced into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo, and that the Islamic Republic of Iran is in non-compliance” with the 2015 arms embargo.

The draft would also condemn “in the strongest terms” Houthi attacks against Saudi Arabia using ballistic missiles and Houthi claims of attacks against the United Arab Emirates. And it would express “grave alarm” at the Houthis’ stated intention to continue attacks and demand that they cease immediately.

The British draft would also expand the list of violations to include “any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen, including launches using ballistic missile technology” as well as sea mines and water-borne explosive devices, land-based anti-tank guided missiles, and technical expertise related to ballistic missiles.

A vote on the British draft is expected later Monday.

If it is vetoed, the council is expected to vote on a rival Russian draft resolution that makes no mention of the experts’ report.

Both the British and Russian drafts would extend sanctions on Yemen until Feb. 26, 2019 and lengthen the mandate of the experts’ panel until March 28, 2019.

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