New Zealand pushes to break United Nations deadlock on Syria

New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, has talked tough on Syria in the past. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, has talked tough on Syria in the past. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand is trying to broker a compromise among the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council on a draft resolution for an end to attacks that may kill civilians in Syria after two previous attempts were voted down in the past week.

Russia on Saturday vetoed a French draft resolution that would have demanded an end to "all aerial bombardments of and military flights over Aleppo city."

A similar rival Russian text, which did not include that demand, was voted on straight after the French text, but failed to get enough votes.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said New Zealand was talking to the other members about its alternative proposal, which he believed could provide a middle ground.

It was first circulated in a bid to get agreement prior to the French and Russian texts going to the vote. New Zealand had now taken the same paper back to Council members.

"With the situation on the ground in Aleppo, for the Council to continue to be unable to agree on anything is unacceptable. Our responsibility as a Council member is to try and find an agreement on something where no such agreement has existed yet."

The text New Zealand is working on, seen by Reuters, demands an "end to all attacks which may result in the death or injury of civilians or damage to civilian objects in Syria, in particular those carried out by air in Aleppo."

The New Zealand text was likely to be discussed by council envoys at a lunch with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tomorrow, diplomats said, adding that the aim was to see if a vote could be taken within a week or so.

A UN resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes to be adopted. The veto powers are the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China.

The Syrian government launched an assault to capture rebel-held areas of Aleppo last month with Russian air support and Iranian-backed militias, a week into a ceasefire agreed by Washington and Moscow. More than 250,000 people are trapped under siege in eastern Aleppo.

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