Russia asks UN Security Council to endorse Syria cease-fire

Xinhua, December 31, 2016

Russia hopes the UN Security Council can adopt a draft resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan it helped broker in Syria, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told reporters on Friday.

After a closed-door council discussion, Churkin said he hopes the council can go for a vote on the draft resolution on Saturday morning to endorse the cease-fire arrangements as well as planned peace talks among parties to the Syrian conflict in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

The nationwide cease-fire in Syria, brokered by Turkey and Russia and agreed upon by the Syrian government and major opposition groups, came into force at midnight local time Thursday, as the latest attempt to end nearly six years of civil war.

Churkin said there is "no competition" between the Astana meeting and Geneva peace talks. "We expect the UN to be fully involved in the preparation of the meeting in Astana. If it is successful, they could move it on to Geneva."

According to local monitor group, the nationwide cease-fire is holding in most areas in Syria despite sporadic breaches near Damascus and in the countryside of the northern city of Aleppo.