Russia tries again to win UN approval for virus resolution

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Russia is trying again to win United Nations (UN) General Assembly approval for a resolution on the coronavirus pandemic, dropping a call to end unilateral sanctions without UN Security Council approval but still calling for an end to protectionist practices.

The 193-member world body has until noon EDT on Wednesday to consider the revised Russian draft resolution, which is called a “Declaration of solidarity of the United Nations in the face of the challenges posed by the coronavirus disease.”

The General Assembly instituted new voting rules because it isn’t holding meetings as a result of the pandemic. Normally, assembly resolutions are adopted by majority votes or by consensus, but now if a single country objects a resolution is defeated.

The original Russian draft resolution, which was co-sponsored by Central African Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, failed to win apporoval on April 2. Diplomats said the European Union, United Kingdom, United States and Ukraine objected to it.

The revised Russian draft resolution, which was sent to member states on Friday by General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, significantly increases the number of co-sponsors to about 30, drops a call to end trade wars, and adds a number of new provisions.

One addition expresses grave concern at “the negative impact of the spread of COVID-19 on public health and the global economy,” and makes a commitment to pursue “coordinated and decisive actions aimed at defeating the pandemic, guided by the spirit of solidarity and international cooperation.”

Another welcomes the April 3 statement by the Group of 77 and China – the main group of developing countries at the UN which now has 134 member states – on COVID-19, calling it “a strong message of solidarity in the face of the pandemic from the developing world.”