United Nations, United States | AFP | The UN Security Council will vote Friday on a draft resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow for humanitarian aid and medical evacuations.
A slightly amended text was circulated to council members late Thursday but it was unclear whether Russia would support the measure which has been under negotiations for two weeks.
The council will meet to vote at 1600 GMT.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told a council meeting on Thursday that there was “no agreement” on a truce and presented a new raft of amendments.
Negotiations have dragged on at the United Nations as hundreds of Syrians have died in a fierce government air campaign in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.
Sweden and Kuwait presented the proposed measure on February 9 but have been unable to overcome resistance from Russia, Syria’s military ally.
Diplomats said it was not known whether Russia would use its veto to block the draft resolution.
The latest text softens language in a key provision to say that the council “demands” a ceasefire instead of “decides”.
It also specifies that the ceasefire will not apply to “individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated” with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. A previous version simply mentioned the two terror groups.
More than 400 people have been killed in the five-day assault by the government on Eastern Ghouta, where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 400,000 Syrians are living in “hell on earth.”
During the meeting called by Russia on Thursday, Nebenzia told the council that it should agree on a ceasefire that is “feasible” and not make decisions that are “severed from reality”.
The ambassador circulated an amended text which specified that aid deliveries would happen “as security conditions permit” and added that “foreign military forces can operate in Syria only in coordination with its official authorities,” according to the document obtained by AFP.
Those provisions were not however included in a new draft that followed last-ditch negotiations late Thursday.
A Security Council diplomat earlier said “the Russian amendments are unacceptable.”