United Nations: The UN Security Council has failed to adopt two competing draft resolutions on Venezuela, sponsored by the US and Russia respectively.
The US draft received nine votes in favour, three against, and three abstentions in the 15-member council, on Thursday. Russia and China, as well as South Africa, vetoed the resolution, Xinhua reported.
Minutes later, the Security Council voted on the Russian draft, which received four votes in favour, seven against and four abstentions.
The US draft stresses the need to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Venezuela and to facilitate unhindered access and delivery of assistance to all in need in the entirety of the territory of Venezuela in accordance with humanitarian principles.
The Russian draft, on the contrary, calls that international assistance should be provided with the consent of, and on the basis of an appeal by, the government of Venezuela. It also urges the settlement of the current situation through peaceful means and supports all initiatives aimed at reaching a political solution among Venezuelans.
Thursday's Security Council meeting is the third on the situation in Venezuela in just over a month due to the escalation of political tension facing the Latin American country.
Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's permanent representative to the UN, said that the meeting "may be exploited as a step for preparations of a real, not humanitarian, intervention," adding that it may cause the alleged inability of the Security Council to resolve the situation in Venezuela.
"At the Security Council, on the Venezuelan issue, our starting point is to uphold the spirit of the UN Charter and the basic principles governing international relations, promote a peaceful settlement of the Venezuelan issue and maintain long-term peace, stability and development in Latin America," said Wu Haitao, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN.
China opposes external forces interfering in Venezuela internal affairs and opposes military intervention in Venezuela, he stressed.
Venezuela has been plunged into a political crisis since January 23 when National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself interim president and was recognized by the United States and some other countries.
A US-backed drive to deliver "humanitarian aid" to Venezuela through border crossings on February 23 met strong resistance from the Venezuelan government as President Nicolas Maduro believed the aid, mainly from the US, is a smokescreen for a military invasion.
The Venezuelan government has closed borders with Brazil and Colombia and some air and sea routes.