U.N. Security Council: Permanent members vetoed two draft resolutions on Venezuela

In a two-staged voting process, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council vetoed two different resolution proposals on Thursday focused on the settlement of the political turmoil in Venezuela.

The diplomatic impasse reached within the U.N. Security Council premises reveals why the Venezuela question has not so far been effectively settled. There are contradictory interpretations among world leaders over what constitutes an optimum political solution for Venezuela and their disputes often worsen security and humanitarian conditions on the ground.

The U.S. took the initiative and proposed a draft resolution to settle the Venezuelan crisis. The U.S. draft envisioned the hosting of new presidential elections in due course and called for immediate efforts to allow passage of humanitarian aid trucks into the country. The U.S. draft proposal received nine positive votes of the 15-member Security Council. Beijing and Moscow vetoed the U.S. proposal.

The U.N. Security Council is currently consisted of five permanent and ten rotating members. Rotating members are elected by the U.N. General Assembly and serve two-year terms. Security Council resolutions represent legislative mandates of the highest authority in world politics. In theory, they have to be endorsed by all states and have universal applicability without any exceptions. In practice however, given that there is no global policing authority to enforce adherence to Security Council resolutions, states, regional organisations (e.g., NATO and the E.U.) and alliances of the willing often enforce these decisions. The five permanent members of the Security Council are the winners of World War II and possess the authority to veto incoming proposals. The five permanent members are Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S.

Upon rejection of the U.S. draft resolution, Russia presented its own vision for Venezuela. The Russian draft resolution envisaged that a political settlement of the crisis needs to take place respecting all stakeholders involved in the problem, including President Maduro. Further, the Russian proposal welcomed international humanitarian aid trucks but requested prior acceptance by President Maduro before the latter cross Venezuela’s borders. The Russian proposal won four votes out of the 15 members, including China. Britain, France and the U.S. vetoed the Russian proposal.

The day ended with Security Council delegations accusing each other for the current standoff in Venezuela. The diplomatic missions nonetheless, reserved to return to the negotiating table in the coming weeks with new draft proposals, given the grave security and humanitarian conditions within Venezuela today.

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