Staff, 2022-10-17 13:00:00,
The difference between nay votes and non-votes, or abstentions, at the United Nations is symbolic, but often significant. A country that abstains might do so for any number of reasons, including fear of offending friendly countries on opposite sides of an issue. Voting yes or no, on the other hand, means taking sides and being prepared for the diplomatic consequences.
On October 12, Central Asia’s two largest countries, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, joined 35 other UN members in abstaining on a resolution in favor of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and condemning Russia’s hastily-staged referendums in occupied Ukraine.
Only five countries, including Russia, voted against the non-binding resolution that demanded Russia reverse its annexation of the four Ukrainian territories, with 143 voting in favor. Belarus was the only ex-Soviet state to give Moscow its backing. Neutral Turkmenistan did not vote.
Central Asian states, who have so far refused to recognize the entities in Russia-occupied Ukraine, behaved the same way as they did in 2014 during a motion against Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Back then, 58 countries sat on the fence, while ten were opposed.
But it was a different story last week in the 47-seat United Nations Human Rights Council where Tashkent and Astana – both temporary members of the 47-seat council – voted against a decision to discuss the situation in China’s Muslim-majority Xinjiang, thereby backing Beijing.
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