Russia wields its considerable influence to prevent the United Nations Security Council thanking outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his contribution to furthering LGBT rights.

Diplomats, who asked to remain anonymous, said Russia insisted on getting rid of the reference to LGBT rights.

According to Reuters, the council wanted the statement to read: “It is thanks to you, Mr. Secretary General, that women, young people, and the LGBT community have been heard and assisted, and today their voices sound louder and stronger in this headquarters and around the world.”

Instead, Russia would only agree to a statement reading that because of Ban’s work, “the most vulnerable or marginalized have been increasingly heard and assisted by the United Nations.”

Ban steps down from his role on December 31 after serving two terms as secretary-general of the United Nations.

The former South Korean foreign minister came under fire from many UN member-states including Russia when in 2015 he decided to extend benefits to the same-sex partners of UN employees.

In September, he hosted the first high-level meeting at the United Nations on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to push for an end to discrimination.

Spain’s UN Ambassador Roman Oyarzun Marchesi, the current council president, then read the council statement, highlighting Ban’s “two remarkable successes.” They are the new UN goals for 2030 and last December’s agreement to combat climate change and his efforts to promote human rights and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.

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