Updated on 11 July 2020
Chapter 6: VOTING
Section 2: Insufficient affirmative votes
Two Russian drafts on Syria humanitarian crossings are latest in a series of drafts receiving insufficient votes
On 8 July 2020, the Security Council concluded the voting procedure on a draft resolution submitted by the Russian Federation on humanitarian border crossing points into Syria (S/2020/658). The Russian Federation brought this draft to a vote after both it and China had vetoed a draft resolution on the same topic prepared by Belgium and Germany, who are considered to be the customary co-penholders on this issue.
Voting in favour of the Russian draft were China, the Russian Federation, South Africa and Viet Nam. Voting against were Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Tunisia abstained (S/2020/664).
In voting results announced on 10 July, a subsequent Russian draft on the same issue again received four votes in favour (China, the Russian Federation, South Africa and Viet Nam) and seven votes against (Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States). Indonesia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Tunisia again abstained.
Because the two Russian drafts each received only four affirmative votes, they both fell short of the nine votes required for adoption. Thus, although France, the United Kingdom and the United States voted against the drafts, their votes did not constitute vetoes.
As stated in the book (page 316), in the Council’s earlier practice, failure of a draft resolution to achieve the required number of votes was
“usually the result of a miscalculation of the voting intentions of the Council members by the sponsors of a draft resolution, since a low tally of affirmative votes does not put the provisions contained in the draft resolution in a good light.”
This is the latest instance in a growing trend, particularly since 2013, of Council members putting to a vote draft resolutions which they know in advance will not receive sufficient votes. In this connection, please see the related article on this website on increasing divisions among Council members, as demonstrated in a rising number of vetoes, insufficient votes and competing draft resolutions.
(This update supplements pages 316-318 of the book.)
 For background on the substance of the disagreements among the Council members on this issue, see "Syria: Vote on Fifth Draft Resolution on Cross-Border Humanitarian Access", What's in Blue, Security Council Report, 11 July 2020.
 A veto is considered to be a negative vote by a permanent member which prevents the adoption of a decision which received at least nine affirmative votes, and so would otherwise have been approved.