In the wake of multiple deadly air strikes that were carried out by pro-Syrian government forces, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution for a 30-day ceasefire on Saturday. According to CNN, the ceasefire will “allow for the delivery of emergency aid and the evacuation of the wounded in some of Syria’s hardest-hit areas, including the besieged Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus.” In light of the resolution’s positive attributes, however, the vote preceding it resulted in a “showdown” between U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.
Per diplomats who were present at Saturday’s vote, Haley and her counterparts argued that the ceasefire begin immediately so that those in need of it would have “unfettered humanitarian access.” Nebenzia and her entourage “kept trying to water it down to delay implementation,” but ultimately relented and agreed to the resolution’s language as written. Of course, everyone remains “skeptical the Syrian regime will comply” but “hopeful the resolution could be a turning point.”
Haley used the vote’s success to deliver a series of harsh remarks about Russia’s behavior in the days leading up to the resolution’s passage:
“On Thursday, in an effort to stall, Russia called for an open meeting on the humanitarian situation in Syria. At that meeting, 14 members of this council were ready to impose a ceasefire. But Russia obstructed the vote again,” she said. “And then yesterday (Friday), this council sat around for hours, ready to vote, only to have Russia delay yet again. Every minute this council waited on Russia, the human suffering grew.”
Haley said the bombing continued as the negotiations dragged on.
“In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution, how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and shelling? How many more images did we need to see of fathers holding their dead children? All for nothing, because here we are voting for a ceasefire that could have saved lives days ago.”
Before the vote, Haley read from testimonies provided by Syrian people who “have suffered so much while waiting for this Security Council to act”: