Turbulent Waters in the UNSC: Draft Resolutions Met With Harsh Criticisms

Aisha Saleem, Al Jazeera English Reporter

As the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) moves into its final stages of discussions, two draft resolutions have been introduced by the delegates of Tunisia and Germany respectively.

Unfortunately, the draft resolution sponsored by Tunisia, Estonia and Russia has come under particular fire due to its following two propositions: one, to negotiate a new Minsk Agreement; and two, its lack of mention of the OSCE’s special monitoring system which had dominated discussions the day prior.

Speaking on the viability of negotiating a new Minsk Agreement, Belgium emerged as a harsh critic. Belgium questioned the efficacy of the new Agreement even in the event that it is successfully negotiated given its previous failure: “Why should we continue to ask Russia to abide by such ineffective resolutions?”

The Minsk Agreement was signed by representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on 5 September 2014 to halt the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine. The agreement followed multiple previous attempts to stop the fighting in the Donbass but it too failed to stop fighting in Donbass. It was thus followed with a new package of measures, called Minsk II in 2015 but this failed to stop the fighting as well.

Nonetheless, it was agreed upon during numerous occasions of Normandy Format talks that the Minsk Agreements remain the basis for any future resolution to the conflict.

Criticisms were also directed at the draft resolution’s failure to account for the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) which were hotly debated in council sessions yesterday. The SMM is an unarmed, civilian mission, present on the ground 24/7 in all regions of Ukraine. Its main tasks are to observe and report in an impartial and objective way on the situation in Ukraine; and to facilitate dialogue among all parties to the crisis.

Emerging again as a harsh critic, Belgium noted that the resolution’s “zero mention” of the OSCE SMM is a “major logical loophole”. Vietnam affirmed its position as a role as a facilitator in this discussion, but noted that the lack of specification on the OESC SMM was a “dismissal of arguments from yesterday’s debates”.

With regard to the criticisms above, the delegate of Estonia emphasised that the collaboration between itself and Russia in the resolution is worthy of celebration in itself, given that Russian involvement is “crucial to any viable way ahead.” The delegate of Estonia calls upon all delegates to “come together and work towards peace” for the serious humanitarian crisis in the Donbass region.

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