UN Security Council to vote on vital Syria aid as mandate expires

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Shortly before the expiry of an important UN resolution to provide to millions of suffering Syrians, negotiations seem to be moving along.

Negotiators at the UN Security Council (UNSC) said New York on Thursday that there had been no objections to the draft resolution – not even from , which had blocked it until now.

As a result, the text has been registered for a vote before the most powerful UN body on Friday.

A time has not yet been , although Russia could still veto the text.

A UN resolution on the matter has been in place since 2014, but expires on July 10.

The regulation allows the United Nations to bring important aid supplies through border crossings to parts of Syria that are not controlled by the government.

Veto power Russia, which backs Syria’s strongman President Bashar al-Assad, had so far signalled it favours closing the last of what were once four border crossings for aid deliveries.

The UN and aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if the current arrangement is not continued.

More than two million people in rebel areas depend on aid.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has made it clear that he sees another proposal by Russia as no alternative.

Moscow suggested aid should first be brought to the Syrian leadership-controlled capital Damascus and then delivered to rebel areas but many experts reject this proposal.

Control over a significant part of the aid would strengthen President Bashar al-Assad’s position in respect to his political opponents.

According to Security Council sources, the atmosphere at the negotiations in New York is somewhat more constructive on the Russian side than in the past.

Nevertheless, Moscow has not agreed on the content of the draft resolutions presented so far.

UNSC members, Norway and Ireland, initially proposed an extension of the mechanism for 12 months with two border crossings.

Russia’s UN Ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, called this a “non-starter”.

The proposal, now on the table, envisages an extension on previous terms with only one crossing: Bab al-Hawa in the north-west.

Western diplomats hope that Moscow will accept the text despite its long blockade stance.

In their view, a new dynamic between the U.S. and Russia after the meeting between Presidents Joe and Vladimir Putin in Geneva could contribute to this.

The two heads of had discussed the issue of Syria aid in Switzerland.