UN to vote on new Syrian resolution on Saturday

It is still unclear whether Russia and China will veto the resolution, as they did three times previously

It is still unclear whether Russia and China will veto the resolution, as they did three times previously

UNITED NATIONS - After almost two weeks of negotiations, the new UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution, that seeks more open humanitarian access to Syria, will finally be put to the vote on Saturday at 11 am - local New York time – Gary Quinlan, Australian UN ambassador, told journalists Thursday afternoon.

The announcement came only minutes after French UN envoy Gerard Araud, told journalists that the 15 UN members state body will wait for some time before the final vote.

According to western media reports, apart from requiring cross-border aid access, the new resolution also demands the end of shelling and end of aerial bombardment, including the use of barrel bombs.

Russia and China have blocked UN resolutions three times previously since the start of the three-year war. On Friday it was still unclear whether Russia, together with China will once again block the UNSC resolution, which threatens sanctions and fully condemns the government in Damascus

Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been quoted as saying that Moscow will block this new resolution again if Damascus does not agree on how humanitarian aid should be delivered to the country. He advised that aid to Syria should be delivered “in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

If Syria decides not to fulfill its obligations, the western-backed resolution, authored by Australia, Luxemburg and Jordan threatens “further steps” to reinforce its implementation.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that a political solution should be pursued firstly by the Security Council.

The new humanitarian resolution was in the making for almost a year. In October 2013, UNSC also adopted a non-binding statement. It urged for more humanitarian access to Syria, but it has made little to no impact on the ground where fierce conflict still rages.

The UN said, more than 100.000 people died since the civil war in Syria started, in March 2011. Some 3.5 million Syrians are internally displaced and 2.5 million have sought refuge in neighbouring countries including over 600,000 of them in Turkey.

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