February 10, 2018 / 3:54 AM / 4 months ago

U.N. Security Council considers demand for 30-day Syria ceasefire

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council is considering demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow the delivery of aid and the evacuation of sick and wounded, diplomats said on Friday, although the measure is likely to be resisted by Russia.

A resolution, drafted by Sweden and Kuwait, was circulated to the 15-member council on Friday. It needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France.

The United Nations called on Tuesday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Syria of at least a month, a call that was backed by the U.S. State Department on Thursday

However, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday: “That’s not realistic. We would like to see a ceasefire, the end of war in Syria, but the terrorists, I’m not sure they are in agreement.”

Syrian ally Russia has cast 11 vetoes on possible Security Council action on Syria since the civil war began in 2011, shielding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The draft U.N. resolution, seen by Reuters, also “calls upon all parties to immediately lift the sieges of populated areas, including in Eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya.”

Council diplomats were expected to discuss the text on Monday. It was not immediately clear when or if Sweden and Kuwait would put the draft resolution to a vote.

Diplomacy is making no progress toward ending a war, now approaching its eighth year, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced half the pre-war Syrian population of 23 million from their homes. Millions have been forced out as refugees.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Paul Tait

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