European Union leaders push for ceasefire in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

European Union leaders push for ceasefire in Syria's Eastern Ghouta”

The letter, sent while Macron and Merkel were at an European Union summit in Brussels, asks Russian Federation to support the draft resolution calling for a 30-day truce in Syria, mainly to allow medical and other aid to reach Eastern Ghouta and allow evacuations.

The vote on the resolution, drafted by Sweden and Kuwait, had originally been scheduled for 11am local time (16:00 GMT) on Friday.

U.N. Security Council members were due to vote at 11 NY, but delayed until at least 2:30 they tried to find consensus.

"Russian Federation on Thursday proposed amendments to the resolution drafted by Sweden and Kuwait, arguing that the language was unrealistic and that the 15-member Security Council could not simply impose a truce on Syria without consulting the parties".

Changes made altered the wording from UNSC "decisions to demands", shifting the resolution towards a call for something to happen as opposed to deciding it should, our correspondent said. The EU called for an immediate ceasefire, urgent humanitarian access to and protection of civilians, he said.

Syrian forces have kept up their relentless bombardment of the rebel-held suburb of eastern Ghouta, with anti-government activists saying more than 30 people were killed there today.

"In order for the resolution to be effective, and we are ready to agree on such a text, we propose a principle that will make the ceasefire real and based on guarantees of all those inside and outside Eastern Ghouta", Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the media following a meeting with his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov, according to a ministry transcript.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley on February 21 said "It's time to take immediate action in the hopes of saving the lives of the men, women, and children who are under attack by the barbaric Assad regime".

Aid needs to get in, the wounded need to get out. A draft resolution is being drawn up at the United Nations headquarters in NY for a "humanitarian truce", while the estimated 400,000 civilians in Eastern Ghouta are in dire need of food, water and medicine.

"I think that without the pressure coming from a united Security Council things are not happening the way they should on the ground", Skoog said. It is home to about 400,000 people.

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