Russia urges speedy UN resolution on Syria truce

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IDLIB, Syria: Russia was hoping for a swift UN Security Council vote to bolster its fragile Syria ceasefire on Saturday, though diplomats expressed doubt the resolution would pass so quickly or be unanimous. Moscow says it wants the UN involved in the peace talks between Damascus and rebels it has scheduled to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan in January, although the UN is negotiating its own separate peace efforts slated for February. The ceasefire, which came into effect Thursday midnight, was holding across most of Syria, though clashes near Damascus underlined the fragility of the deal brokered by rebel supporter Turkey and key regime ally Russia. Ankara and Moscow say the Astana talks are meant to supplement UN-backed peace efforts, rather than replace them, and want to involve regional players like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin voiced hope that the council could vote Saturday “and adopt it unanimously”.

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