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Russia asks UNSC to delay Syria aid vote
February 21, 2014, 2:43 am

Upon Russia's request, the UNSC vote has been pushed back by one day to Saturday February 22, 2014 [Xinhua]

Upon Russia’s request, the UNSC vote has been pushed back by one day to Saturday February 22, 2014 [Xinhua]

Russia has told the United Nations Security Council that any new draft resolution on aid access to Syria must include a provision for Damascus to approve such humanitarian relief into its territories.

A vote on a draft co-authored by the British, Jordanian and Luxembourg delegations was pushed back a day to Saturday as the Russian delegation asked for time to study the document.

The draft focused on aid access into Syrian territory and called for an end to shelling and aerial bombardment. It also warns of further, though unspecified, action if Damascus does not imply.

This has been a contentious issue for both Russia and China, who have in the past. blocked Council resolutions against the government of Bashar Al-Assad.

On Thursday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Beijing said that new measures by the Council “should be conducive to pushing for a political solution to the Syria problem.”

“The relevant action should also respect the UN’s guiding principles on humanitarian aid, upholding fairness and neutrality,” Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who arrived in Baghdad Thursday to discuss a resolution to the Syrian Civil War with Iraqi leaders, criticized Washington’s policy on the conflict saying it encouraged the growth of terrorist organisations in the region.

“In the end, this will not result in anything except the escalation of the Syrian conflict,” he said during a joint news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minster Hoshyar Zebari in Baghdad.

He also warned that any new UN draft resolution that failed to work within the framework of international humanitarian law could open the door for the illicit shipment of arms and equipment to rebel factions across the border.

Lavrov last week called on both Assad’s government and the opposition fighting him to “unite and eradicate terrorism in Syria”.

Russia and China have vetoed three Security Council resolutions that would have imposed sanctions on the Syrian government since fighting broke out there nearly three years ago.

Both sides in Syria’s civil war have accused the other of hampering international efforts to deliver aid to civilians, including in the besieged city of Homs.

UN and relief agencies working to evacuate civilians from the line of fire and/or deliver aid say they are growing increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of their operations.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has repeatedly expressed frustration, and called on the Council to do more to pressure the warring sides to facilitate aid delivery and evacuation.

According to UN sources, more than 1,400 people have been evacuated from Homs after a ceasefire between the two sides took hold.

Source: Agencies