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Russia warns UN draft resolution on Syria will undermine humanitarian efforts

Vitaly Churkin voiced the confidence that the document containing the threats of sanctions would not be adopted

UNITED NATIONS, February 11, /ITAR-TASS/. A draft resolution on Syria submitted to the UN Security Council may undermine the humanitarian efforts of the international community, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, warned Monday.

He voiced the confidence that the document containing the threats of sanctions would not be adopted.

“This text won’t have any practical or encouraging effect on the situation and, on the contrary, it will undermine humanitarian efforts,” Churkin said.

Russia believes the draft resolution conceals an attempt to build up political tensions around Syria but “that’s something that’s not needed right now, especially in the context of Geneva II talks,” he said. “This text won’t be endorsed.”

February 6, Australia, Jordan and Luxembourg circulated a draft resolution at the UN Security Council on ensuring humanitarian access to the remote and hard-to-access parts of Syria. The document, the text of which leaked the media, contains a threat of sanctions against those who put up obstacles to the deliveries of humanitarian aid.

The draft document speaks of a fifteen-day deadline for fulfilling a list of demands that includes an end to all forms of violence and encroachments on international law, including the bombings of populated localities and attack on humanitarian missions, as well as the lifting of blockades of cities.

On Monday, co-authors of the draft resolution planned to present it officially to the five permanent members of the UN - Russia, Britain, China, France, and the U.S. - but the meeting was cancelled.

“They tried to convene a meeting but we didn’t find it necessary,” Churkin said. “They thought the meeting was to be devoted to discussions of precisely this text but we think it’s hopeless.”

He also pointed to a certain progress evidenced in the ensuring of humanitarian access in Syria.

For instance, Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, reported an agreement on prolonging a pause in combat operations in Homs for another three days. The agreement was reached by Syrian government officials and the opposition.

She said the agreement on a provisional ceasefire had made it possible to evacuate more than 800 people from Homs since Friday and to deliver foodstuffs and medicines to the population.