Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Russia wants UN to endorse Syria ceasefire deal

Published:Friday | September 16, 2016 | 9:00 AM
Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy for Syria.
Ban Ki-moon, United Nations secretary general.
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Beirut (AP):

Russia wants the United Nations Security Council to endorse the Syrian ceasefire agreement that it brokered together with the United States.

The truce went into effect earlier this week in Syria and has been mostly holding across the war-torn country despite minor violations.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said yesterday that he hopes the Security Council will adopt a resolution endorsing the agreement at next week's high-level General Assembly meeting, which draws leaders from around the globe.

Churkin says: "I think we need to adopt it on the 21st" - a reference to Wednesday's summit level Security Council meeting on Syria.

The ceasefire is intended to help set the state for peace talks to end Syria's civil war, now in its sixth year. Several previous negotiated ceasefires have unravelled, and efforts to hold the peace talks have stalled.

The Russian military says the Syrian government forces have pulled back from a key highway to the besieged city of Aleppo to allow for aid deliveries, but opposition fighters have failed to do the same.

 

WEAPONS WITHDRAWN

 

Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko, the head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre, said the Syrian army withdrew its armour, artillery and other weapons north of the Castello road yesterday, in line with the US-Russia-brokered ceasefire.

He says that under the deal, opposition units were supposed to move away in lockstep but have failed to do so.

Savchenko asked Moscow for permission to reverse the pullback if the rebels fail to comply. He was ordered to quickly report the rebels' violation of the deal to the US military.

A senior Russian diplomat says that Syria peace talks could resume as early as later this month.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov says that Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy for Syria, could call the talks between the Syrian government and the opposition later this month or in October.

Gatilov's remarks were reported by the Interfax news agency. Earlier, another senior Russian diplomat, Mikhail Bogdanov, said the talks could resume in October.

The US-Russia-brokered ceasefire in Syria that began on Monday is intended to help stage the ground for peace talks to end Syria's devastating civil war, now in its sixth year.

Several previous negotiated ceasefires and efforts to hold the peace talks have stalled.