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Sunday, 10 April 2022

Egypt abstains from voting as UN kicks Russia out of human rights council

Egypt abstained from a vote to suspend Russia from the UN’s human rights council at a special emergency session at the UN General Assembly on Thursday. The general assembly suspended Russia from the human rights council after the resolution received a two-thirds majority, with 93 nations voting in favor, 24 against, and 58 abstaining. The move came after evidence came to light of atrocities against civilians by Russian troops in western Ukraine, particularly in the city of Bucha.

The resolution threatens to weaken the UN’s credibility, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a strongly worded statement following the vote. The UNGA resolution constitutes a “dangerous turning point” in the UN’s history, the ministry warned, expressing its discomfort with “double-standards” in the body’s attitude to human rights violations worldwide. “How many times were less decisive and more lenient decisions taken regarding clear human rights violations in the not-so-distant past,” the statement read.

We weren’t the only ones in the region to bow out of the vote: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, and Tunisia all abstained (see how everyone voted here).


EgyptAir is resuming flights to Moscow this week. The national flag carrier is resuming daily flights between Cairo and Moscow starting Tuesday, according to its flight timetable. MPs last week approved a draft law allowing the Finance Ministry to ins. EgyptAir against potential losses on flights to and from Russia, which were suspended in March due to the war.


It appears that Russia’s first external default in over a century is approaching after the country breached the terms of its bond payments by paying them in RUB instead of USD, Bloomberg writes. S&P downgraded Russia’s foreign currency rating to selective default after the Russian government breached the terms, it said in a release. “Sanctions on Russia are likely to be further increased in the coming weeks, hampering Russia's willingness and technical abilities to honor the terms of its obligations to foreign debtholders,” the ratings agency said.

Plot twist: S&P Global subsequently withdrew the rating — and all its Russia-related ratings — in line with EU sanctions forbidding credit agencies to rate Russian instruments after the end of this week. Competitors Moody’s and Fitch had already done the same, Bloomberg notes — begging the question as to who will let us know if and when Russia does default.

Russia says the RUB is strong enough to start reversing rate hikes, but independent strategists say the rally isn’t credible: “The exchange rate is no longer free-floating and the currency would be at a very different level if barriers were removed.”


Ukraine officials are calling on civilians to evacuate the eastern region after Russian forces amped up attacks in the area, AP reports. At least 52 civilians were killed and 100 more injured on Friday when Russian missiles struck a train station in the area, where thousands of people were trying to board trains to evacuate.

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