BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:40 P.M.) – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the recent adoption by the UN Security Council of a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
Despite welcoming the resolution, however, Guterres said that “Security Council resolutions are only meaningful if they are effectively implemented.”
“I expect the resolution to be immediately implemented and sustained, particularly to ensure the immediate, safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services, the evacuation of the critically sick and wounded”, he said.
“Human rights are not a luxury; they are a collective responsibility that all member states have signed on to”, Guterres added.
On Saturday, the vote for the 30-day ceasefire was unanimously approved after previously having failed attempts when members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) were unable to reach an agreement. The ceasefire will allow aid deliveries to Syria and medical evacuations.
Russia asked for the resolution to not apply to those working in cooperation with the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL), al-Qaeda and the Nusra Front. The final resolution now states operations can continue against “individuals, groups, undertakings and entities” that are associated with IS, al-Qaeda or other groups deemed by the Security Council as “terrorists”.
American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Russia of deliberately stalling the vote on the Syrian resolution. “The Syrian people should not have to die waiting for Russia to organise their instructions from Moscow, or to discuss it with the Syrians,” she said, stressing the fact that the resolution could have been approved three days earlier.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said that they took more time, “because we did not support the ceasefire top-down pattern on sufficiently long term.”
The finalised Security Council resolution contains a part, which states that the ceasefire does not include Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda and other ‘terrorist’ groups.