GCC ‘faces challenges’ as summit begins

Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is received by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa upon his arrival at Sakhir VIP airport to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) 37th Summit, Bahrain, December 6, 2016.

Russia and China on Monday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have demanded a seven-day truce in Syria’s Aleppo, with Russia arguing it would allow rebels to regroup and that time was needed for talks between Washington and Moscow.

After criticizing the Security Council’s incapability to reach a solution over Syria, Egypt envoy to UN Amro Abu Al-Atta gave a heartfelt plea.

In a direct address to regional powers, he said “what are you fighting for in Syria when you see a woman holding her dying baby…Syrians trying to find help from strangers?”

Observers have described the Syrian conflict as not only involving Syrians but also regional and international powers.

He went on saying “which religion or sect is justifying bloodshed?”

It was the sixth time Russia has vetoed a Security Council resolution on Syria since 2011 and the fifth time China has blocked action. Venezuela also voted against the resolution – drafted by New Zealand, Egypt and Spain – while Angola abstained. The remaining 11 council members voted in favor.

The United Nations Security Council voted on a resolution – that Egypt helped to draft – demanding an initial seven-day ceasefire in Aleppo, sources have confirmed to Al Arabiya.

The resolution comes as regime forces continue incursions into the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, and sieze control of the main road to the Aleppo airport.

The draft also demands humanitarian access to residents trapped in the besieged areas.

Egypt, New Zealand and Spain drafted the resolution demanding the truce after extensive negotiations with Russia – a strong ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It is still uncertain whether Russia will allow the resolution to pass.

According to news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), the draft resolution states that “all parties to the Syrian conflict shall immediately cease any attacks in the city of Aleppo, to allow urgent humanitarian needs to be addressed” to the tens of thousands of residents of the eastern neighborhoods in the besieged city.

The draft resolution refers to the temporary truce as a preface to a cessation of hostilities in all parts of Syria.

Separately, Canada has requested a meeting of the UN General Assembly to vote on a separate resolution that focuses on humanitarian aid in Aleppo.

A date for an upcoming meeting has not been set yet, but maybe held in the upcoming days.

Unlike the Security Council, there is no veto in the assembly, although decisions are not binding.

But the assembly could – based on a provision that dates back to 1950 – apply pressure for action.

Saudi King Salman bin Abulaziz Al-Saud is received by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa upon his arrival at Sakhir VIP airport to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) 37th Summit, Bahrain, December 6, 2016.


Syria rebels rule out withdrawal from Aleppo
Russia, China veto UN resolution on Aleppo
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