By Michelle Nichols
| UNITED NATIONS
UNITED NATIONS New Zealand gave the 15-member United Nations Security Council on Wednesday a draft resolution that would demand an end to all attacks that may kill civilians in Syria, particularly air strikes in Aleppo, just days after Russia vetoed a similar text. Russia on Saturday vetoed a French draft resolution that would have demanded an end to "all aerial bombardments of and military flights over Aleppo city." A similar rival Russian text, which did not include that demand, was voted on straight after the French text, but failed to get enough votes.The New Zealand draft resolution, seen by Reuters, demands an "end to all attacks which may result in the death or injury of civilians or damage to civilian objects in Syria, in particular those carried out by air in Aleppo."The Syrian government launched an assault to capture rebel-held areas of Aleppo last month with Russian air support and Iranian-backed militias, a week into a ceasefire agreed by Washington and Moscow. More than 250,000 people are trapped under siege in eastern Aleppo.
The New Zealand draft text was likely to be discussed by council envoys at a lunch with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday, diplomats said, adding that the aim was to see if a vote could be taken within a week or so.A U.N. resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes to be adopted. The veto powers are the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China. "The council has a responsibility to try to address what is clearly the biggest issue on its agenda and with the level of killing and destruction that is going on just to give up seems to us not to be an acceptable course of action," New Zealand's U.N. Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen said.
"The aim on this one is to make a practical difference. We know resolution of themselves don't do that, but if it helps people make decisions to change their behaviour then it would be useful," he said. Separately, diplomats said Canada was pushing for the 193-member U.N. General Assembly to be briefed on Syria next week.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Switzerland on Saturday to discuss Syria, officials said. Kerry broke off talks with Lavrov last week over the Aleppo offensive. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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Updated Date: Oct 13, 2016 05:15 AM