Compromise on Syria ceasefire resolution eluding UNSC


United Nations : After a day of hectic negotiations and three delays, the 10 elected members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) failed to get its five permanent members to compromise on a resolution for a 30-day ceasefire in war-torn Syria and to allow humanitarian aid to reach besieged areas.

Council President for the month, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi, on Friday night said they would try again to have a vote on the resolution on Saturday.

Russia, which has veto powers, proposed amendments to the draft resolution introduced by Kuwait and Sweden when it was first scheduled for a vote on Thursday.

Sweden’s Permanent Representative Olof Skoog hinted that the sticking point was when the ceasefire would start.

“I think we all agree that there needs to be a ceasefire that has to be urgent immediately,” he told reporters. “There are still some discussions on exactly how to define that.”

The draft resolution wanted the ceasefire to start 72 hours after it was passed.

But Russia may want to give Syria more time complete its attacks on East Ghouta, one of the last bastions of the opposition.

The relentless aerial bombing of the Damascus suburb precipitated the latest initiative in the Council to bring about a temporary truce so humanitarian relief can be sent there and other areas and medical evacuations carried out.

The 10 elected members known as E10 have been trying to get Russia and the western countries — Britain, France and the US — to compromise.

“We are all united, we want the resolution to be adopted,” Al-Otaibi said earlier on Friday with all the representatives E10 members standing with him and sounding hopeful.

“We are working on the language of some paragraphs, but we are almost there… We want to show you the solidarity of the E10,” he said.

Kazkhstan’s Permanent Representative Kairat Umarov underscored the solidarity of the E10 in forging an agreement on a ceasefire resolution as the humanitarian tragedy in Syria that has been described by UN officials as “hell on earth” unfolds.

“You see here the the E10 group which is actively working on finding the compromise language in order for all of us on the Council to agree on the text because we want to show that the Security Council can really work effectively,” he said.

Kuwait and Sweden “are talking to other parties in order to reach an agreement which will satisfy everyone in the Council”, he added.

The pressure from the E10 hadn’t worked by the end of the day and Al-Otaibi finally said: “Till now we don’t have consensus. We are having negotiations.”

By Saturday, he said, “ee hope there will be consensus and all 15 (members of the Council) will vote for it”.

Regardless of whether there is a compromise, the vote will take place, Skoog said, defying a Russian veto.

(Arul Louis can be reached at


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