UN Security Council Isolates US Over Golan Decision

In a letter requesting the UN meeting Wednesday, Syria said the United States' decision was a "flagrant violation" of council resolutions.

The United States was isolated at the United Nations Security Council Wednesday over President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights as the other countries on the council opposed the move which they decried as a violation of the international resolution.

RELATED: US Claims Golan as Israeli while Boosting Military Presence

In a letter requesting Wednesday's meeting, Syria described the U.S. decision as a "flagrant violation" of council resolutions, while North Korea issued a statement backing "the struggle of the Syrian government and people for taking back the occupied Golan Heights."

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move the 15-member U.N. Security Council declared "null and void and without international legal effect."

British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce told the council that the U.S. decision was in contravention of that 1981 resolution, while Russia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov said Washington had violated U.N. resolutions and warned it could fuel instability in the Middle East.

The European members of the council - France, Britain, Germany, Belgium and Poland - Tuesday also raised concerns about "broader consequences of recognizing illegal annexation and also about the broader regional consequences."

Trump, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking over his shoulder during a visit to Washington, on Monday signed a proclamation officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Germany's U.N. Ambassador Christoph Heusgen described the Syrian letter as "deeply cynical."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier Wednesday that Washington's decision would help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by removing uncertainty.

The Security Council deployed a peacekeeping force in 1974 - known as the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) - to monitor a ceasefire between Syria and Israel in the Golan Heights. There are more than 880 U.N. troops on the ground.

U.S. diplomat Rodney Hunter told the council that the U.S. decision on the Golan Heights does not affect the truce or undermine the deployment of the peacekeeping mission.

"UNDOF continues to have a vital role to play in preserving stability between Israel and Syria, most importantly by ensuring that the Area of Separation is a buffer zone free from any military presence or activities," he told the council.

 
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US plans to buy arms incl mortars in E. Europe, send them close to Venezuela border – Moscow

Washington plans to buy weapons including mortars and portable air-defense systems in an Eastern European country and send them close to Venezuela’s border, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said citing internal sources.

It looks like the US is considering a military intervention in Venezuela, Moscow’s top diplomat said during a press conference with Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez on Friday. In this scenario, Washington would be buying arms in Eastern Europe and sending them via cargo plane to locations near Venezuela’s borders.

According to the information that we have, in the upcoming future the US is planning to buy light weapons, mortars, air-defense systems and other arms in one of the Eastern European countries and send it close to Venezuela using an airline from one of the Post-Soviet states absolutely loyal to Washington.

On Thursday, Washington proposed a UNSC draft resolution blaming President Nicolas Maduro for causing an “economic collapse” in the country and calling for new elections. The bid was vetoed by Russia and China who accused the US of interfering in Venezuela’s internal affairs. A rival Russian draft also failed.

Also on rt.com Russian, US resolutions on Venezuela fail at UN Security Council...

The US has openly supported Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaido who proclaimed himself interim president in January following violent clashes on the streets of Caracas.

Venezuela’s opposition is also backed by US’ Latin American allies as well as many European countries including the UK, Germany, France, and Spain. Russia, China, Turkey, Iran and a number of other countries stand by Maduro who was re-elected in 2018. Supporters of both the president and the opposition leader rallied in Caracas over the past weeks.

Also on rt.com US amasses special ops in Puerto Rico, army in Colombia to oust Maduro – Russian Security Council..

In February, US president Donald Trump confirmed that military intervention in the conflict-torn country is “an option.” In response, Maduro said that his country is prepared for the “David against Goliath” fight and hinted that the military adventure could become the next Vietnam for Washington.

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Russia Proposes Venezuelan 'Peaceful Measures' Initiative to UN

Russia reiterated its support for democratically-elected President Nicolas Maduro, and presented a 'peaceful measures' initiative to the United Nations Security Council regarding Venezuela. 

On Friday afternoon, Russia proposed a call to the United Nations Security Council, to end outside interference from the U.S. and it's allied nations.

RELATED: US Blockade on Venezuela Has Cost US$350 Billion: Report

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hasn't shied-away from calling-on opposition forces to come to the negotiating table in a bid to engage in peaceful dialogue regarding the U.S.' attempted coup on the South American nation, and now Russia has suggested a new resolution to help Maduro protect the country's sovereignty against any possible foreign military intervention.

According to AP, Moscow's proposal calls for "resolving the political tensions in Venezuela through 'peaceful measures' based on a 'political settlement' without any preconditions or outside interference."

Reuters reported that, "The Russian draft would express concern over the attempts to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction. It would also express concern over the threats to use force against the territorial integrity and political independence of Venezuela."

Furthermore, TeleSUR Spanish reported that the Russian ambassador to Uruguay, Nikolai Sofinski, confirmed his country's position to support the efforts being made by Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and the Community of Caribbean States (CARICOM), to promote dialogue mechanisms between the Government of Venezuela and the opposition.

"We support all the initiatives that advocate dialogue as a means of solution, which advocate that the opposing sides agree without preconditions or impositions or interference of any kind," Sofinski told Russian public television network, Rossiya.

We reject the statements by the self-proclaimed Juan Guaidó who welcomes a US military intervention in Venezuela. I wonder what the brothers presidents who recognized him have to say about such incitement to war in Latin America

Bolivian President Evo Morales gave his endorsement for peaceful dialogue, and later Tweeted his displeasure of the U.S.' attempts at a coup. "We reject the statements by the self-proclaimed Juan Guaidó who welcomes a U.S. military intervention in Venezuela. I wonder what the brothers' presidents who recognized him have to say about such incitement to war in Latin America."

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Venezuela, Many Nations, Reject US-Led Interventionism at UNSC Session

United Nations Security Council met on Saturday to discuss the internal situation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

On Saturday the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council was summoned by the United States to meet Saturday to discuss the internal situation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza delivered a speech defending Venezuela against the U.S. interventionism and was backed by several countries from across the world.

RELATED: Ongoing Coup in Venezuela: What If Same Scenario Happens in France

China, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Russia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Saint Vicent, the Grenadines, Barbados, and Suriname, were among the countries that expressed their recognition of the legitimate and constitutional Venezuelan government, led by President Nicolas Maduro.

"The United States is the one that should be evaluated (and not Venezuela) for its permanent disrespect and interference in external political affairs," Foreign Minister Arreaza said in his statement before the Security Council. 

"How is it possible that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who militarily threatened Venezuela, has not been questioned by the world?"

Arreaza also talked about the situation of the illegally and unconstitutionally self-proclaimed "interim president" Juan Guaido, asking, "how can it be possible for a lawmaker to proclaim himself president and for international governments to recognize him?"  Stating and warning that in Venezuela "force is being imposed on the law. That is dangerous and we must stop it here from the United Nations."

| Chancellor of , from the Security Council: "The Bolivarian Armed Forces defend the Constitution with their lives, they can never convince our military to overthrow ."

Russia, for its part, a delegation led by ambassador Vasili Nebenzia, condemned the United States policy of favoring regime changes in other countries. "The regime change is the favorite political game of the United States," Nebenzia state. According to the diplomat, "We (Russia) support the rules of international law and we oppose foreign intervention."

Jerry Matjila, permanent ambassador of South Africa at the United Nations, called for dialogue in Venezuela. "South Africa is against any attempt of unconstitutional change of the government of Venezuela," the diplomat said at the meeting.

The ambassador for Nicaragua stated that the actions led by the U.S. and backed by other countries "do not help a political and peaceful solution that only belongs to the Venezuelan people. Venezuela is the one who must exercise its rights and autonomy within its internal jurisdiction."

The Cuban representation in the Security Council stated that the Caribbean nation "reiterate(s) our absolute respect for the Bolivarian and Chavez revolution, for the union of the Venezuelan people and for their legitimate and democratic government."

Those several statements of support came as a response to incoherent and inconsistent attacks on Venezuela's President Maduro by the United States and its right-wing allies as well as several European Countries.

During his speech, the British envoy claimed that President Maduro won the May 2018 elections by "stuffing ballot boxes," an allegation that the Russian envy rebuffed by reminding his counterpart that in Venezuela such a fraudulent practice would not be possible because Venezuela has a highly-reliable electronic voting system that does not involve ballot boxes.   

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Russia, China object to U.S. proposal to blacklist Russian bank at U.N.: diplomats

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russia and China on Thursday objected to a U.S. proposal to add a Russian bank, Moscow-based North Korean banker and two other entities to a U.N. Security Council blacklist, diplomats said.

The list of proposed designations mirrors new sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury last week.

The United States made the proposal to the 15-member U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, which operates by consensus.

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Russia objected to the designations because it said the U.S. proposal was not “adequately substantiated by sufficient information,” diplomats said. China gave no reason for its objections.

Russia and China have suggested the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time in June and Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization.

The United States and other council members have said there must be strict enforcement of sanctions until Pyongyang acts.

Last week, Washington imposed sanctions on Moscow-based Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank, North Korean banker Ri Jong Won, China-based Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade Co Ltd and North Korea-based Korea Ungum Corporation.

The U.S. Treasury Department said Agrosoyuz Commercial Bank had conducted “a significant transaction” for North Korean banker Han Jang Su, who had been blacklisted by Washington. Han is the Moscow-based chief representative of Foreign Trade Bank (FTB), North Korea’s primary foreign exchange bank.

The Security Council blacklisted FTB in August last year. Ri is FTB’s deputy representative in Moscow.

The U.S. Treasury said Dandong Zhongsheng Industry & Trade and Korea Ungum Corporation were FTB front companies.

The U.N. blacklist would impose a global travel ban and asset freeze on those designated.

Russia and China last month delayed a U.S. push for the Security Council sanctions committee to order a halt to refined petroleum exports to North Korea, asking for more detail on a U.S. accusation that Pyongyang breached sanctions, diplomats said.

Sanctions by the United States and the U.N. Security Council, which include a ban on exports of coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood from North Korea, and caps on imports of oil and refined petroleum products, are aimed at choking off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

 

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US requests UNSC vote on alleged chemical attack in Syria – reports

The US has requested a vote at the UN Security Council on a draft resolution for a new inquiry into the alleged chemical incident in Douma, Syria. It comes as Russia urges the UN to dispatch investigators to the site.

The UN Security Council is expected to vote at 3pm New York time (19:00 GMT) on Tuesday, according to media reports, citing diplomatic sources. “The vote has been requested,” an unnamed diplomat told RIA Novosti.

 
United States envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley addresses the Security Council, April 9, 2018. © Brendan McDermid

It comes as Moscow and Damascus have urged the UN’s chemical weapons watchdog to send experts to the site of the alleged incident as soon as possible.

“Due to the rapid escalation of the situation, Russia calls on the technical secretariat to urgently send the mission’s experts to establish the facts of the alleged chemical weapons usage in Syria in order to clarify all the details of the incident,” Russia’s mission to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Tuesday. It added that any delays would only play into the hands of those who desire to use the reported incident as a pretext to launch an attack on Syria.

While the US will supposedly be seeking an inquiry into the alleged incident, Washington has already pinned the blame for it on Damascus and its allies. Following the first reports that came from the controversial White Helmets and other anti-government groups, US President Donald Trump called his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad an “animal,” adding that there would be a “big price to pay” for the purported use of chemical weapons.

READ MORE: 'Post-fact mindset in US: First punishment & then search for evidence to rationalize war-mongering'

On Monday, the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, appeared to speak of the alleged chemical attack as a proven fact, blaming Russia and the “monster” Assad for it.

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Russia & Syria call for on-the-ground probe in Douma, pledge to provide security to OPCW experts

Moscow has proposed to create an independent investigative mechanism into the alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma, promising, along with the Syrian army, to guarantee prompt access for experts to the site.

Russia's envoy to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, has reiterated that Russia will support a thorough investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in the rebel-held town of Douma over the weekend.

"Let us recall that our draft resolution to set up such a mechanism is in blue. And we stand ready to adopt it today if necessary," Nebenzia said, referring to the Russia-sponsored UNSC resolution to establish an independent investigative mechanism under the auspices of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

 

A photo showing a child being washed after what the White Helmets and other anti-government groups in Syria claim was a chemical weapons attack in Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. The Russian military says the photos were staged. © Reuters

Moscow is ready to serve as a guarantor of security for those OPCW experts who would inspect the site of the incident, Nebenzia added, stressing the need for the probe to be carried out without delay. The experts may "immediately, tomorrow, fly to Damascus," the diplomat said.

"There, the Syrian authorities and Russian troops will provide conditions to travel to the area of the alleged incident for them to familiarize themselves with the situation," Nebenzia said, reminding the UNSC member-states' representatives that "that is what President Trump and other western leaders called upon us to undertake."

The Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said his country is also ready to welcome the OPCW team as soon as possible and to provide them with everything necessary for a comprehensive investigation.

"My country, Syria, stresses its unlimited cooperation with the OPCW to fulfill the commitments stated in the convention of the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons," he said.

Highlighting the importance of a swift investigation, Nebenzia noted that it should be conducted on the ground, and not through third parties. Moscow has repeatedly criticized the OPCW investigation into last April's Khan Sheikhoun incident as "unprofessional." One of the major flaws of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), as pointed out by Moscow, was that the whole investigation was conducted remotely. As a result, the findings of the OPCW report, that blamed the attack on the Syrian government, were mostly based on speculation by analysts, accounts by unidentified witnesses and material evidence submitted by third parties with no chain of custody being implemented.

In November, the mechanism's mandate expired and Moscow vetoed a resolution to extend its authority, arguing that it was effectively "dead" and couldn't be revived, stressing a need for a new, "professional, objective and unbiased" mechanism to replace its discredited predecessor. Moscow at the time proposed a resolution to create one but it was not passed by the UNSC.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Nebenzia did not specify if Russia would put the resolution to a vote on Tuesday. Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said she is looking forward to the Security Council voting on the resolution proposed by the US.

 

FILE PHOTO: A Syrian man collects and bags the body of a dead bird, reportedly killed by a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun, in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province © Omar haj kadour

The US draft, leaked to the media, implies that Syria might be found in violation of UNSC Resolution 2118 as a result of the investigation by a proposed "Independent Mechanism of Investigation."  The resolution, adopted in 2013, provided for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles. Damascus has repeatedly stressed its compliance, denying allegations of the use of toxic agents in the offensives on rebel-held regions.

"The Syrian Arab Republic stresses once again it does not possess any chemical weapons of any type, including chlorine," Jaafari said at Monday’s UNSC meeting.

The US-sponsored draft "condemns in the strongest terms the continued use of chemical weapons" and also stipulates that measures might be taken against Syria under the UN Charter Chapter 7, which paves the way for the use of force.

Nebenzia denounced the draft, saying that it contains "some unacceptable elements." "There is nothing there that would meet the high standards of the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention," he said.

The UNSC President, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations, said that he expects the countries' delegations to continue to work on the draft for the rest of Monday and on Tuesday, describing the situation as "very difficult."

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N. Korea missile tests: UNSC threatens Pyongyang with sanctions, says launches must stop

The UN Security Council has warned it may hit North Korea with a new round of sanctions in response to its latest missile launches, which it blamed for stirring up regional tension, and urged Pyongyang to stop its nuclear and ballistic missile activity.

In the wake of North Korea’s medium-range missile launch into the Sea of Japan on Saturday, the UNSC slammed the self-isolated country for “highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance” it displays by turning a blind eye to multiple UN resolutions expressly prohibiting it from attempting such actions.

© Damir Sagolj

Apart from reiterating its commitment to comply with all restrictive measures imposed on North Korea under previous resolutions, the Council hinted it might look at the possibility to tighten the grip on the state’s economy, which is already suffering under a heavy burden of international sanctions.

“The members of the Security Council agreed that the Security Council would continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures including sanctions, in line with the Council’s previously expressed determination,” the statement read.

READ MORE: There can be only political solutions on the Korean peninsula

It went on to call on Pyongyang to phase out its nuclear and missile program and enforce a total ban on nuclear and missile tests, arguing that the development of missile and nuclear weapons is being carried out by Pyongyang at the expense of ordinary people, who “have great unmet need.”

Earlier, the French ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre, said that the UNSC is looking into a possible expansion of sanctions, promising a “strong” and “swift” retaliation to North Korea’s latest breach of international law.

@RT_com 'Latest North Korean missile launch didn’t pose any threat to Russia' - Defense Ministryhttp://on.rt.com/8bmj

Whether the threats will materialize into a new round of sanctions is likely to be decided Tuesday, when a closed-door UNSC meeting on North Korea is scheduled to take place.

The newest missile launch was claimed by North Korea as a successful test of a long-range strategic ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. However, the US military disputed the claim, arguing that the projectile was more likely a mid-range missile, than an intercontinental one.

The missile had reportedly covered a distance of 700 kilometers, with its altitude reported by some media outlets to be as high as 2,000 meters, before descending into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korean and Japanese militaries’ estimates.

State of paranoia?

Following the launch, one of the most vocal voices in the chorus of those denouncing North Korea and its leader Kin Jong-un was that of the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who went as far as to suggest that Kim was “in a state of paranoia” and vowed that Washington would proceed with “tightening the screws” on the pariah state.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un © Damir Sagolj

In a separate statement, the White House labelled the North Korean weapons program “a flagrant menace for too long,” specifically mentioning an assumed displeasure felt in Moscow at the sight of the missile allegedly striking near its border.

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil, in fact – closer to Russia than to Japan – the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased," the statement said.

The worrying report on the missile landing in the imminent proximity to the Russian border, some 60 miles (97 km) south of the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok, with over 1 million residents, was given by CNN, citing an unnamed US official. The map drawn by the channel shows the alleged point of impact as dangerously close to Russian territory.

The Russian Defense Ministry, however, dismissed the report, stressing that the missile did not pose a threat to Russia, and actually landed in “the central part of the Sea of Japan, some 500km from Russian territory. There are also some doubts about the missile reaching the altitude of 2,000 km (1,245 miles), with aviation expert Ron Bishop from Central Queensland University describing such a potent range non-typical and “a little bit of a stretch” rather than an accurate estimate while speaking to RT. The estimate has largely remained unchallenged in the mainstream media.

Weighing on the latest missile test while in Beijing on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged all parties, including those whom he said are “intimidating” North Korea, to drop their alarmist rhetoric and stop saber-rattling, and instead focus on a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

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