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UN resolutions by US, Russia on Venezuela both likely to fail

Vice President Mike Pence, seated with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly, listens as President Donald J. Trump addresses the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The UN Security Council is expected to vote on February 28 on rival draft resolutions presented by the United States and Russia on the crisis in Venezuela.

A resolution needs nine votes to pass the council and no vetoes by the permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain.

Reuters quoted diplomats as saying the U.S. version is likely to receive the required nine votes in the council but is expected to fail due to a Russian veto.

Moscow’s draft is not expected to get the minimum nine votes and will fail without the need for a U.S. veto.

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News agencies said the U.S. resolution asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to help ensure a “free, fair, and credible” presidential election with international observers. It also speaks of the need to ensure the security of members of the political opposition, which is backed by Washington.

It also stresses the need to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the country. President Nicolas Maduro has blocked aid deliveries from the United States, saying they are part of a plot by Washington to remove him from office.

Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya on February 26 called the attempt by the Venezuelan opposition to carry in aid shipments from Colombia nothing but a “humanitarian show” put on by Washington.

He said the U.S. administration’s sole aim is “regime change, including with threats to do so via foreign intervention.”

The Russian draft resolution expresses “concern over the threats to use force” against Venezuela. President Donald Trump says all options are on the table in dealing with Venezuela.

Washington and Moscow are supporting opposite sides in the standoff in the South American country.

The United States backs opposition leader Juan Guaido, the country’s self-declared interim president, while Russia is allied with Maduro.

Maduro took office in 2013 after the death of Hugo Chavez and was sworn in for a second term in January following elections in May 2018 that were marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging.

He has been criticized for alleged human rights abuses and for his handling of Venezuela’s economy.