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UN Security Council approves Russian-drafted resolution on Syria ceasefire



The UN Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution drafted by Russia that endorses a nationwide Syrian ceasefire, which was earlier brokered by Moscow and Ankara.

Security Council members welcomed the agreements reached through the mediation of Russia and Turkey, and stressed the importance of its “full and immediate implementation.”

The Security Council also expressed its support for the “efforts taken by Russia and Turkey and aimed at stopping violence in Syria and launching a political process.” 

Council members stressed that they see the Astana meeting as an important step in the process toward the reconciliation of the Syrian conflict.

The UN body also reaffirmed its commitment to the “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic” and reiterated that the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis is to begin a complex inter-Syrian political process.

Western countries expressed cautious optimism about the agreements brokered by Moscow and Ankara. 

The US deputy ambassador to the UN, Michelle Sison, said that the US expects the truce to be observed across the whole of Syria while the British deputy UN envoy Peter Wilson said that a system is required to independently monitor the ceasefire.

Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin called on his colleagues not to confuse and complicate the situation and not to discredit the agreements brokered by Moscow and Ankara.

At the same time, he expressed his gratitude to all UN Security Council members and thanked them for their contribution to the peace process in Syria. 

He particularly praised the role of Turkey in reaching the ceasefire agreement.

He went on to say that, if all Security Council members “focus on the essence of the matter” and put their private interests aside, the UN body is “capable of taking important decisions.”

The draft resolution prepared by Russia was officially presented to the UNSC on Friday, a day after Moscow sent the texts of two agreements signed by the Syrian government and seven armed opposition groups to the UN body.

The documents that “establish a ceasefire as well as obliges the Syrian government and the opposition to start direct talks in Astana in late January,” Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told journalists on Friday, speaking about the documents he presented at the Security Council meeting together with a draft resolution supporting the ceasefire in Syria.

He also said that all groups that genuinely want to join talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Astana scheduled for early 2017 are welcome in the Kazakh capital.

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