Pakistan, China, 30 others abstain from vote
The UN General Assembly approved a nonbinding resolution Thursday that calls for Russia to end hostilities in Ukraine and demands the withdrawal of its forces, sending a strong message on the eve of the first anniversary of the invasion that Moscow’s aggression must end.
The 141-7 vote with 32 abstentions was slightly below the highest vote for the five previous resolutions approved by the 193-member world body since Russia sent troops and tanks across the border into its smaller neighbor on Feb. 24, 2022.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative at UN, Munir Akram said few clauses of the resolution are against Pakistan’s stance.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy dismissed the action at the United Nations as “useless”.
“This resolution is a powerful signal of unflagging global support for Ukraine,” he said in a post on Twitter.
The General Assembly has become the most important UN body dealing with Ukraine because the Security Council, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security, is paralyzed by Russia’s veto power. Its resolutions are not legally binding, unlike Security Council resolutions, but serve as a barometer of world opinion. Foreign ministers and diplomats from more than 75 countries addressed the assembly during two days of debate, with many urging support for the resolution that upholds Ukraine’s territorial integrity, a basic principle of the UN Charter that all countries must subscribe to when they join the world organization.
Venezuela’s deputy ambassador addressed the council on behalf of 16 countries that either voted against or abstained on almost all of five previous resolutions on Ukraine: Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Laos, Mali, Nicaragua, North Korea, St. Vincent, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
While other countries focused on Russia’s actions, Deputy Ambassador Joaquín Pérez Ayestarán said Wednesday that all countries without exception “must stringently comply with the United Nations Charter.” He said the countries in his group were against what he called divisive action in the General Assembly, and for “a spirit of compromise.”
China’s deputy UN ambassador Dai Bing told the assembly Thursday: “We support Russia and Ukraine in moving toward each other, resuming direct dialogue as soon as possible, bringing their legitimate concerns into the negotiation, setting out feasible options, and giving a chance to an early end of the crisis and the rebuilding of peace.”-AP