UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) —
The UN Security Council is to vote on Thursday on two draft cease-fire resolutions in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, with Kuwait, Germany, Belgium and China backed by China, UN diplomatic sources said.
The draft resolution put forward by the three countries to impose an “immediate ceasefire” in the province of Idlib from next Saturday.
The draft resolution, obtained by AFP and could be confronted with a Russian veto, said the ceasefire should begin at noon on September 21 to “avoid further deterioration of the already disastrous situation in Idlib.”
The vote on this draft resolution is scheduled to take place at 7 pm GMT.
The draft resolution has been negotiated since the end of August but still faces strong opposition from Moscow.
As soon as the three countries introduced the draft resolution, Russia responded with a counter-resolution backed by China, which is also expected to be voted on Thursday.
The Russian draft resolution, obtained by AFP, provides for an “immediate cessation of hostilities to avoid further deterioration of the already disastrous humanitarian situation in Idlib province,” but does not specify when the ceasefire will take effect.
The Russian text also includes a paragraph stating that “the cessation of hostilities does not apply to military operations targeting individuals, groups or entities associated with terrorist groups.”
This signal is unacceptable to Westerners because it opens the door to different interpretations and to the continued targeting of civilian installations.
The Russian text is likely to be unable to obtain the nine votes needed for adoption in the 15-member Security Council, and it could be met with an American, French or British veto if Russia can muster the support it needs to pass.
The military escalation and the Syrian and Russian raids on Idlib killed nearly 1,000 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as well as the displacement of more than 400 thousand people to areas not covered by the bombing near the Turkish border, according to the United Nations.
The United Nations has been warning for weeks of a worsening humanitarian situation in the province, where some 3 million people, including 1 million children, live.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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