UAE dodges voting on UN resolution slamming Russia aggression in Ukraine

UAE dodges voting on UN resolution slamming Russia aggression in Ukraine
The UAE refused to vote on a draft resolution co-authored by the US that condemned Russia for its "aggression" in Ukraine.

2 min read
26 February, 2022
Lana Nusseibeh is the UAE's ambassador to the UN [LightRocket via Getty]

The UAE on Friday abstained from voting on a United Nations draft resolution to condemn Russia for its "aggression" in Ukraine.

The draft was co-written by the US - a country with which the UAE shares strong relations - and Albania, and called on Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine and withdraw troops.

Russia vetoed the draft, while China and India joined the UAE in abstaining from the vote.

UAE Permanent Representative to the UN Lana Nusseibeh told the Security Council: "The serious developments in Ukraine, we will agree, undermine international peace and security."

The UAE "calls on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, prioritise the protection of civilians, and allow for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance," she said.

Despite the abstention, Nussibeh said: "We support the draft resolution's emphasis on the need to adhere to the principles of international law and to the charter of the United Nations."

She did not explain why the UAE abstained from the vote.

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The UAE's decision not to back the US-driven vote came despite a phone call between the Emirati and US foreign ministers early on Friday.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Antony Blinken had discussed the importance of building "a strong international response to support Ukrainian sovereignty through the UN Security Council," according to a Department of State press release.

Despite strong ties between Washington and Abu Dhabi, Gulf nations including the UAE have been wary of alienating Russia, an ally in oil cartel OPEC.

The Security Council held two emergency meetings on Ukraine earlier this week, when the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine loomed large.

Russian troops entered Ukraine early on Thursday morning, reaching the outskirts of Ukraine's capital Kyiv the next day. The Russian military has also conducted attacks from the air.

Ukraine's health ministry has said that 198 civilians, including three children, have been killed since the Russian invasion began.