UN Security Council calls for Syria ceasefire to be implemented

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speaks to Stephen Hickey, Political Co-ordinator at the UK Mission to the UN and Swedish Ambassador to the UN Olof Skoog before the UN Security Council vote for cease-fire to Syrian bombing in eastern Ghouta, at the United Nations headquarters in New York. (File Photo: Reuters)
Updated 07 March 2018
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UN Security Council calls for Syria ceasefire to be implemented

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday called for a ceasefire to be implemented across Syria and expressed concern about the country's humanitarian situation, said Netherlands U.N. Ambassador Karel van Oosterom, council president for March.
"The cessation of hostilities was discussed. The Security Council reiterated its call for implementation of resolution 2401," van Oosterom said. The 15-member council unanimously demanded a 30-day truce across Syria on Feb. 24.
He was speaking after the Security Council was briefed behind closed doors on the situation in Syria at the request of Britain and France.
The meeting was called to press Syria and Russia to comply with a ceasefire endorsed eleven days ago to allow humanitarian aid and medical evacuations from Eastern Ghouta.
France and Britain requested the urgent meeting as the Syrian government sent militias as reinforcements to the rebel enclave and heavy airstrikes battered key towns.
Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog, who negotiated the ceasefire resolution along with Kuwait, said implementation of the truce remains "totally and completely inadequate."
"So far we see minimal signs only from the Syrian authorities to implement the resolution and we are very, very disappointed about that," Skoog told reporters ahead of the meeting.
Backed by Russia, the council unanimously adopted on February 24 a resolution demanding the 30-day cessation of hostilities to allow deliveries of humanitarian aid and evacuations of the sick and wounded.
A first aid convoy reached Eastern Ghouta on Monday but the delivery was cut short as air strikes pounded the enclave. Aid workers offloaded 32 of the 46 trucks.
Nearly half of the food carried on the convoy which had been approved by the Syrian government could not be delivered and part of the medical and health supplies were removed from trucks by Syrian authorities, the UN said.
The Swedish ambassador said the council would push for another aid convoy to be allowed to return to Eastern Ghouta on Thursday to deliver food and medicine.
Skoog said the safety of the aid workers must be guaranteed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 800 civilians -- including at least 177 children -- have been killed since Russia-backed Syrian forces launched an assault on the besieged enclave outside Damascus on February 18.


Turkey blocked from US F-35 program after Russian missile purchase

Updated 21 min 23 sec ago
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Turkey blocked from US F-35 program after Russian missile purchase

  • “The US and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program"

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Wednesday that it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, a move that had been long threatened and expected after Ankara began accepting delivery of an advanced Russian missile defense system last week.
The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown to the Murted military air base northwest of Ankara on Friday, sealing Turkey’s deal with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.
“The US and other F-35 partners are aligned in this decision to suspend Turkey from the program and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the program,” said Ellen Lord, the under secretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.
“The United States is spending between $500 and $600 million in non-recurring engineering in order to shift the supply chain,” she said.
Used by NATO and other US allies, the F-35 stealth fighter jet is the world’s most advanced jet fighter. Washington is concerned that deploying the S-400 with the F-35 would allow Russia to gain too much inside information of the stealth system.
“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” the White House said in a statement earlier on Wednesday.
Washington has long said the acquisition may lead to Turkey’s expulsion from the F-35 program.
The Pentagon had already laid out a plan to remove Turkey from the program, including halting any new training for Turkish pilots on the advanced aircraft.
“The situation with Turkey is a government-to-government matter and we’ll comply with any guidance issued by the United States Government,” said a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin Corp. , the prime contractor on the jet.