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Updated On: Monday, 18 June 2018
Development Issues

SC Adopts Syrian Ceasefire Resolution

Content by: South-South News

1 March 2018, New York, USA | South-South News — The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on February 24 demanding a nationwide 30-day ceasefire in Syria.

Resolution 2401 demands that all parties cease hostilities “without delay,” and engage immediately to ensure full and comprehensive implementation of this demand by all parties, for a durable humanitarian pause for “at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria,” to enable the safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded.

The document also affirms that the cessation of hostilities shall not apply to military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da'esh), Al Qaeda and Al Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups.

Speaking to the Council, US ambassador Nikki Haley said, “Every minute the Council waited on Russia, the human suffering grew. Getting to a vote became a moral responsibility for everyone, but not for Russia, not for Syria, not for Iran. I have to ask, why?”

She added, “How many more images did we need to see of fathers holding their dead children? All for nothing, because here we are voting for a ceasefire that could have saved lives days ago. And after all of this time, hardly anything has changed in the resolution except a few words and some commas. The Syrian people should not have to die waiting for Russia to organize their instructions from Moscow or to discuss it with the Syrians. And why did the Council allow this? There is no good reason we shouldn’t have done this Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday. We may not know the faces that we’re talking about. We may not know their names, or these people, but they know us. And we all failed them this week.”

The US diplomat stressed, “Today, Russia has belatedly decided to join the international consensus and accept the need to call for a ceasefire, but only after trying every possible way to avoid it. This resolution marks a moment of Council unity that we must seize and maintain beyond the 30-day timeframe. We hope this resolution will be a turning point, where Russia will join us in pushing for the political settlement to this conflict and take action to re-establish real accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.”

 

Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said, “It took us so much time to reach agreement on the resolution due to the fact that we did not support what was enshrined in there. The directions for an immediate cessation of hostilities rather than a lengthy period of time just because as it stood that was not feasible to achieve these directives or instructions without any concrete agreement for the warring parties in Syria cannot arrive at a ceasefire. This kind of unrealistic approach will no way help to address the pressing humanitarian situation in Syria. What is necessary is for the demands of the Security Council to be underpinned by concrete on the ground agreements.”

Speaking to journalist outside the Security Council, Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzya explained why it took so long to negotiate the resolution.

He said, “We wanted to make sure that it is not used as a pretext for any military action. Because we heard some troublesome, worrying comments on that in recent days and including today. Some of them very bellicose. So, we said it clearly that we won’t let anyone interpret this resolution as a pretext for military action.”

The Resolution further demands that, immediately after the start of the cessation of hostilities, all parties shall allow safe, unimpeded and sustained access each week for United Nations' and their implementing partners' humanitarian convoys, including medical and surgical supplies, to all requested areas and populations, in particular to those 5.6 million people in 1,244 communities in acute need, including the 2.9 million people in hard-to-reach and besieged locations.

 

In the document, Council members called upon all parties to immediately lift the sieges of populated areas, including in Eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Four and Kefraya, and demanded that all parties allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, cease depriving civilians of food and medicine indispensable to their survival, and enable the rapid, safe and unhindered evacuation of all civilians who wish to leave.

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