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Syria ceasefire plan adopts by UN Security Council.

The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution
welcoming and supporting the efforts by Russia and Turkey to end
violence in Syria and jumpstart a political process for the war-torn
Middle East country.

“The draft resolution has been unanimously adopted as resolution
2336,” President of the Security Council for December, Roman Marchesi
(Spain) said, according to a document obtained by the Correspondent of
the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the UN.

Also in the resolution, the Council “takes note of” the documents
issued by Russia and Turkey about the agreements the two countries have
brokered, including a nationwide ceasefire and a plan to convene
political talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, between the Syrian
Government and opposition groups, in January.

The Council “looks forward to” that meeting in Astana, viewing it as
“an important part of the Syrian-led political process” and “an
important step ahead of the resumption of negotiations under the
auspices of the United Nations in Geneva on Feb. 8, 2017”.

Western members of the SecurityCouncil had sought changes to the
draft resolution circulated by Russia and Turkey during consultations on
Saturday morning to clarify the role of the UN and the meaning of the
agreement brokered by Moscow and Ankara.

The final text dropped an endorsement of the Syria cease-fire
agreement brokered by Moscow and Ankara, and it changed the draft to
call the Astana meeting “an important step ahead of the resumption of
negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva on Feb.
8, 2017”.

On Friday, Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow
hoped the Security Council would take up a vote and unanimously adopt a
draft resolution on Syria, which was based on talks and documents issued
in Astana, Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had also announced on Thursday that
the Syrian government and armed opposition groups had reached an
agreement on a nationwide ceasefire in Syria and on readiness to start
peace talks.

Putin called on the Syrian government, armed opposition and all
countries with influence on the situation in the Arab republic
to support the reached agreements and to take part in the anticipated
talks in Astana.

A nationwide ceasefire between the Syrian government and opposition factions came into force at midnight on Friday.

Russia and Turkey serve as guarantors of the ceasefire deal, which paves the way for negotiations between the warring parties.

Russia and Turkey are on opposing sides of the Syrian conflict, with
Moscow along with Iran providing crucial military support to Syrian
President Bashar Assad, while Turkey has long served as a rear base and
source of supplies for the rebels.

Divisions in the Security Council between veto-wielding members of
the Security Council – Russia and China on one side and the Western
powers: the U.S. Britain and France who support the moderate opposition
and demand that Assad steps down, on the other side — had blocked action
to end the war.

Russia and Turkey first sent the cease-fire agreement and the draft resolution to Security Council members on Thursday night.

After closed discussions at the Council on  Friday morning, Churkin,
Russia’s Permanent Representative, circulated a revised draft, urging
Council members to support it and called for the vote on Saturday.

The Security Council needs to participate “in this important process,” Churkin had said.

The cease-fire agreement, if it holds, would mark a potential
breakthrough in a conflict that began in 2011 with an uprising against
decades of rule by Assad’s family and has left over 250,000 dead and
more than 13.5 million people in need of urgent assistance, and
triggered a refugee crisis across Europe.

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