Tuesday, 19 November, 2019

Merkel hopes United Nations will agree on Syria ceasefire this evening

United States Permanent Representative and cabinet member Nikki Haley votes in the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 24 2018 for a resolution demanding a ceasefire in Syria Merkel hopes United Nations will agree on Syria ceasefire this evening
Patty Aguilar | 23 February, 2018, 23:18

On Thursday, the Security Council discussed the situation in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta, but failed to reach an agreement on the draft as members were divided over the text. But that is no match for Vladimir Putin's determination to protect his client Bashar Assad. The area, located near the Syrian capital of Damascus, has been under siege all week.

"France and Germany call on Russian Federation to shoulder its responsibilities in this regard", they said in a joint statement as Macron and Merkel met other European Union leaders for talks in Brussels.

"France and Germany call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the implementation of a ceasefire to provide civilian support, humanitarian access and medical evacuation, as called for by the United Nations", the two governments said.

Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said on Friday that Moscow was ready to support a resolution on Syria, but that [the resolution] does not guarantee a ceasefire, Interfax news agency reported.

"The Assad regime is brutally attacking innocent men, women and children".

Russia, Turkey and Iran in 2017 had designated Eastern Ghouta as a "de-escalation zone", meaning civilians could reside there without being targeted by any party in Syria's war.

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He urged them to stop the violence.

"Russian Federation on Thursday proposed amendments to the resolution drafted by Sweden and Kuwait, arguing that the language was unrealistic and that the 15-member Security Council could not simply impose a truce on Syria without consulting the parties".

"I really hope that this evening such a resolution can be adopted and the letter from Emmanuel Macron and me underlines the urgency of this", Merkel said. Russian Federation said on Friday it was ready to support the draft resolution, but with caveats.

"For the resolution to be effective, and we are ready to negotiate such a text, we have put forward a principle that will enable the ceasefire to become real and based on guarantees of all those inside Eastern Ghouta and beyond Eastern Ghouta", he added.

The EU as a whole has only played a marginal role in the global diplomacy around the conflict in Syria, where the multi-sided war has killed hundreads of thousands and driven millions from their homes.

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