US rejects Russian plan for Syria ceasefire at UN Security Council

World Saturday 07/March/2020 09:17 AM
By: Times News Service
US rejects Russian plan for Syria ceasefire at UN Security Council

Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire for Syria, but the agreement failed to get the backing of the UN Security Council on Friday. A ceasefire endorsement proposed by Russia was rejected when the United States, which is one of the five countries with veto power on the Council.
Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, had asked the other 14 Security Council members to adopt the agreement, but the United States rejected it saying it and called the deal "premature." Some European nations welcomed the proposal but wanted to amend the statement.
Opposition from "one delegation"
Nebenzia said Russia wanted to issue a press statement afterward, "but due to the position of one delegation, it was not possible.''
Several diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed, said that was a reference to the United States. But they added that Russia was unwilling to negotiate on proposals made by France and the United Kingdom.
German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen said, "We have to see if this will work. We are concerned about the millions of people who are suffering there and we would [like to] see that this ceasefire leads to a kind of safe zones where people can go back to and they can survive."
He also said Germany and Britain were prepared to provide extra aid, but that they would require an agreement that was real.
British Ambassador Karen Pierce also welcomed the ceasefire, but said that a lot needed to be ironed out before it came into action.
"Who will monitor it? What is happening west of Aleppo? And critically has the Syrian government formally signed up, and will the Syrian government be following the provisions of the ceasefire?" she said.
Ceasefire holding
The skies over Idlib, the last rebel stronghold, were calm on Friday as Russian and Syrian warplanes stopped firing since midnight Thursday for the first time in three months. Many citizens have been internally displaced or have fled to the borders to escape the attacks.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad approved the ceasefire in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
This is not the first ceasefire for the province of Idlib. The last remaining rebel stronghold has been battered with attacks. Nearly a million people have been displaced in three months. Attacks by Russian-backed Assad troops against rebels supported by Turkey have created a major humanitarian crisis that has seen some 1 million people flee for the Syrian-Turkish border.
The war in Syria, which began nearly nine years ago, has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced half of the country's population.