Iraq News

UN Security Council expected to meet on Syria safe zones deal

Japan and Sweden have requested a UN Security Council meeting to obtain specific details of a Russia-backed agreement on establishing safe zones in Syria, AFP reported Tuesday (May 9th).

The meeting, which is likely to be held this week, would help council members decide on whether to endorse the deal signed by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

The agreement signed in the Kazakh capital Astana on May 4th calls for the creation of four "de-escalation zones" to shore up a ceasefire, ban flights and allow for deliveries of humanitarian aid.

The UN has described it as a promising step in efforts to end the six-year war.

Russia has presented a draft resolution to the council that welcomes the deal and calls on all parties to abide by its provisions, but no vote has been scheduled on the measure.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said it was important that the council "get all the clarity needed before engaging on a draft resolution".

Under the deal, Russia, Iran and Turkey have until June 4th to agree on the exact boundaries of the four zones, where fighting between opposition and regime forces is meant to stop.

Diplomats said they wanted to see maps to clearly assess the territory that would be covered by the deal which provides for vital deliveries of humanitarian aid.

"We want to have more information," said Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog.

The agreement has not been signed by the Syrian regime or the opposition. Details on whether international monitors will be deployed to the areas remain sketchy.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has rejected any UN role in monitoring the designated zones.

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