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Russia circulates its own UN resolution on Aleppo - diplomats

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By Catherine Hardy  with AFP, Reuters
Russia circulates its own UN resolution on Aleppo - diplomats

Diplomats in New York say Russia is circulating its own UN resolution on the Aleppo crisis.

It comes after a day of intense diplomatic activity at the organisation’s headquarters in New York.

Earlier, UN Security Council veto power Russia said it could not allow a French-drafted resolution on Aleppo to be adopted.

The initial draft document was aimed at ensuring that UN officials can monitor evacuations from besieged parts of the Syrian city and the protection of civilians who remain.

“We cannot support it,” Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters in New York, “we cannot allow it to pass because it is a disaster.”

“But there could be another thing which could be adopted today by the Security Council which would accomplish the same goals,” Churkin added without elaborating.

Russia is an ally of Damascus that has provided military backing to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops.

It has vetoed six Security Council resolutions on Syria since the conflict started in 2011.

China has joined Moscow in vetoing five.

UN Security Council meeting

The UN Security Council has met to vote on whether to send observers to Aleppo.

A resolution that would allow UN officials to monitor evacuations from the besieged parts of the Syrian city is being considered by a meeting in New York on Sunday.

What is the resolution aimed at?

The French-drafted resolution is aimed at ensuring that UN officials can monitor evacuations from the besieged parts of Aleppo.

The protection of those who remain will also be ensured.

The text was circulated among diplomats and the press on Friday.

What the draft text says

The draft text also “emphasises that the evacuations of civilians must be voluntary and to final destinations of their choice, and protection must be provided to all civilians who choose or who have been forced to be evacuated and those who opt to remain in their homes.”

It asks the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to “redeploy the United Nations humanitarian staff already on the ground to carry out adequate, neutral monitorinng, direct observation and to report on evacuations from besieged parts of Aleppo and protection of civilians inside Aleppo.”

The draft resolution also:

  • asks Ban to deploy further staff if needed.
  • “demands that all parties provide the monitors with safe, immediate and unimpeded access”.
  • “demands that all parties allow complete, immediate, unconditional, safe and unhindered access for the United Nations and its implementing partners” through the most direct route through Syria.
  • asks the UN secretary general to report back to the council on implementation of the resolution within five days of adoption.

Why is there a delay in the evacuation of Aleppo?

A plan for the evacuation of rebel-held areas of eastern Aleppo ground collapsed on Friday.

Pro-government forces were demanding that people also be moved out of two Shi’ite villages besieged by insurgents.

Many residents remain trapped in the east of the city in freezing temperatures.

A crackdown by Assad on pro-democracy protesters in 2011 led to civil war.

Half of Syria’s 22 million inhabitants have been uprooted.

It is estimated more than 400,000 have been