UNSC closer to reach consensus on Syria aid draft, may vote later this week - diplomat

Photo: UNSC closer to reach consensus on Syria aid draft, may vote later this week - diplomat / UN

UN Security Council members are inching closer to agreement on a Western-Arab draft resolution that would demand immediate humanitarian access to the besieged areas all over Syria, and may vote as early as this week, a Council diplomat told KUNA Tuesday.

"There have been several discussions on the text of the resolution which the Russians have been engaging in constructively," the diplomat said, adding that "it may be that we are in a position to vote by the end of the week." The Council has scheduled a meeting of all 15 members later today at the Ambassadorial level. The Russian delegation is showing "some flexibility," another diplomat told KUNA.

The Western-Arab draft resolution calls for an end to the siege of the cities where civilians are trapped; demands an end to indiscriminate shelling by the regime; a humanitarian pause to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid; and warns of sanctions on entities and individuals if they do not abide by the demands within 15 days of the adoption of the resolution.

Russia also circulated among Council members for examination late last week a draft resolution that puts the blame equally on Government and opposition forces, highlights terrorist acts in the country, and does not mention any threat of sanctions on violators.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters following a Council closed-door meeting late Thursday that the two drafts "are not that far apart." Over nine million Syrians are affected by the three-year conflict. According to the Syrian opposition, close to 140,000 people were killed since March 2011 when the crisis in Syria began with peaceful protests that quickly degenerated into a civil war.

In the meantime, a UN official told KUNA that Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi will brief Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council next week.

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