UNITED NATIONS, — The UN General Assembly is set to vote Friday on a draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Syria and access for humanitarian aid, a measure one diplomat described as too little, too late.

Canada drafted the text, part of the 193-nation assembly’s attempt to break the deadlock over Syria at the Security Council.

Russia and China this week vetoed a draft Security Council resolution calling for a seven-day cease-fire in Aleppo, the Syrian city that is on the verge of falling to government forces.

It was the sixth time that Moscow, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has used its veto in the council to block action over Syria.

The General Assembly is expected to adopt nonbinding text that demands a complete end to all attacks on civilians and the lifting of all sieges.

Sadly, I suspect it will be too little too late, British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said Thursday.

The vote will demonstrate that there is a moral majority of countries that are distressed that through a series of vetoes, the Security Council has failed to provide the unity necessary to change the situation in Syria.

Russia dismissed the resolution, saying it would have no impact on the ground.

To expect that it’s going to produce some kind of dramatic U-turn in the situation in Syria is unrealistic, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura briefed the Security Council Thursday ahead of talks in Geneva Saturday between the United States and Russia on a possible deal that would allow civilians and rebel fighters to leave Aleppo.

The UN envoy says he expects to meet with someone President-elect Donald Trump’s team in the coming days.

De Mistura made his remarks on his way to brief the Security Council on the situation in Syria. The plan is to meet some people around the team of President Trump, de Mistura told reporters, without offering more details.

It was unclear if any action would result from de Mistura’s briefing after Russia and China vetoed a resolution earlier this year calling for a 7-day truce in the Syrian city of Aleppo. It was the sixth time Russia used its veto to block action on Syria.

Syria peace talks should restart

Political talks to end the nearly six-year war should resume soon.

De Mistura told reporters following a closed-door meeting of the Security Council that now is the time to actually look seriously at the possible renewal of political discussions.

The envoy raised the possibility of a return to the negotiating table as Russia announced that the Syrian army was halting military operations in order to evacuate civilians from Aleppo.

Backed by Russia, Syrian forces have captured about 85 percent of eastern Aleppo after three weeks of heavy fighting to seize one of the last opposition strongholds.

Military victories are not a victory for peace, because peace needs to be won separately, De Mistura said.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he hoped talks could resume before UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon leaves office on Dec 31.

Time is short. It would be important to revive the talks before Mr. Ban’s term expires, in just 20 days, Churkin told reporters.

The last round of UN-brokered peace talks ended in April, with no progress on the key issue of Syria’s future government and the fate of President Assad.

De Mistura said talks would be possible if the government in Damascus were ready to discuss substantially the terms of a settlement and if the opposition did not refuse to come.

Without an effort to restart peace talks, there will be an impression which no one wants to have that there is only a military victory, only a military solution. There is neither, he added.

More than 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011, and over half the population has been displaced, with millions becoming refugees.

Moscow launched an air war in support of Assad’s forces last year, while Washington has supported rebel forces battling the regime.

Source: Nam News Network

UNITED NATIONS, -- The UN General Assembly is set to vote Friday on a draft resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Syria and access for humanitarian aid, a measure one diplomat described as too little, too late.Canada drafted the text, part of the 193-nation assembly's attempt to break the...