UN vote on Syria ceasefire delayed to 19:30 GMT

A Syrian man checks the site of Syrian government bombardments in Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on February 22. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP United Nations, United States Feb 23, 2018, 04.14 PM (IST)

The UN Security Council on Friday delayed to 19:30 GMT a vote on a draft resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, diplomats said.

Negotiations were continuing to avoid a Russia veto of the text that would establish a truce to allow humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations.

More than 400 civilians have been killed as Syrian regime air strikes and artillery fire pound the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, in one of the seven-year conflict's bloodiest episodes.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote to Russia's Vladimir Putin on Friday urging him to back a UN Security Council resolution for a ceasefire in Syria, France's presidency said.

The letter, sent while Macron and Merkel were at an EU summit in Brussels, asked Russia to support the draft resolution calling for a 30-day truce in Syria, mainly to allow aid to reach besieged Eastern Ghouta and allow evacuations, said the presidency.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for an immediate ceasefire and aid deliveries in the rebel-held Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

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Negotiations were continuing to avoid a Russia veto of the text that would establish a truce to allow humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations