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UNSC schedules vote on Russian-drafted Syria resolution

31 December 2016 12:03

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has scheduled a vote on a Russian-drafted resolution on the implementation of an ongoing nation-wide ceasefire in Syria.

The ceasefire, brokered by Russia and Turkey, took effect across the Arab country at midnight on Friday.

The Council agreed to hold the vote at 1600 GMT on Saturday after closed-door discussions on Friday.

The ceasefire agreement does not apply to the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

Russia and Turkey had sent the text of the ceasefire agreement and the draft resolution to Security Council members on Thursday night. Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin later circulated a revised draft and urged Council members to support it.

The resolution calls for “rapid, safe and unhindered” access to deliver humanitarian aid throughout Syria. It also looks forward to a meeting in late January between the Syrian government and opposition in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, “as an important part of the Syrian-led political process facilitated by the United Nations.”

Finally, the text reiterates support for a roadmap for peace, which starts with the formation of a transitional government.

Threatening the expected passage of the resolution, however, is opposition to the Syrian government by three veto-wielding members of the Council, namely the US, Britain, and France.

The US has been excluded from recent talks involving Iran, Russia, and Turkey on resolving the Syria crisis. The three countries successfully implemented a similar accord earlier this month following the defeat of militants in the northwestern city of Aleppo, which ended years of fighting in the city and facilitated the evacuation of residents.

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