World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.N. Security Council delayed until Thursday a vote on a Western-backed resolution that threatens Syrian authorities with sanctions and is aimed at ending the 16-month conflict, diplomats said on Wednesday.
International envoy Kofi Annan earlier had requested that the vote, which was planned for later on Wednesday, be postponed because he wanted to "ensure all efforts were made for U.N. Security Council to speak with one voice and agree on concerted pressure," Britain's U.N. mission said on Twitter.
"We will be voting tomorrow morning," Britain's U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters on Wednesday.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon urged the council to "shoulder its responsibility and take collective and effective action."
"Time is of the essence. The Syrian people have suffered for too long. The bloodshed must end now," Ban said in a statement.
The 15-member Security Council needs to decide the future of a U.N. observer mission in Syria before its mandate expires on Friday. The council approved the mission's deployment to monitor a failed April 12 ceasefire under Annan's six-point peace plan.
But the permanent five veto-wielding members of the Security Council -- the United States, Russia, Britain, China and France -- are divided over whether stronger action should be taken.
Britain, the United States, and France, along with Germany, want the council to threaten Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his government with sanctions in a bid to halt the violence, but Russia and China are against such a move.
Russia, a key ally of Syria, has refused to engage in negotiations on the Western-backed resolution that would extend the U.N. observer mission in Syria for 45 days and place Annan's peace plan under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, diplomats say.
Chapter 7 allows the council to authorize actions ranging from diplomatic and economic sanctions to military intervention. U.S. officials, however, have said they are talking about sanctions on Syria, not military intervention.
"We had a useful discussion but I wouldn't call it a negotiation," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters after further talks between the permanent five members. When asked if she expected any new proposals from Russia, she said: "No."
Russia opposes armed intervention
Russia has said it would block the Western-backed resolution because it does not believe it should be placed under Chapter 7. Russia and China have already twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions designed to pressure Assad to halt the violence.
"A possible vote has been postponed until tomorrow," said Russia's U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin, without commenting further.
Russia has also put forward a resolution to extend the U.N. mission for 90 days, but it does not contain a threat of sanctions. It was not clear when or if Russia planned to put its draft resolution to a vote.
"We have very clearly told our Russian and Chinese friends 'we are ready to negotiate,' French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters. "The framework is well defined, it's a Chapter 7 resolution with a threat of sanctions."
The Western-backed draft resolution specifically threatens Syrian authorities with sanctions if they do not stop using heavy weapons and withdraw troops from towns and cities within 10 days of adoption by the Security Council.
"We want to give diplomacy a chance, but of course there has to be meaningful engagement on the side of Russia and China with our resolution," Germany's U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig said.
"Syria is sliding into chaos. We have been warning about such a development all along. The responsibility for that development falls squarely with the Assad regime," he said.
A suicide bomber killed Syria's defense minister and two other top military officials in Damascus on Wednesday, security sources said, the worst blow to Assad's high command during the rebellion.
"We condemn all kinds of terrorist actions," China's U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong told reporters, adding that he hoped the council could reach consensus on what action to take on Syria.
Women currently serve on the front line but do not allow them to join units whose main aim is to engage and kill the enemy.
Former North Korean computer science professor says that the ultimate goal in cyber strategy would be to attack the national infrastructure of South Korea and United States.
Netanyahu has warned that a proposed resolution lodged with the UN council would lead to a takover of the West Bank by Hamas.
Around 8,000 Peshmerga took part in the operation that was backed by coalition airstrikes
"I wouldn't rule out a visit from President Castro,” says White House press secretary Josh Earnest
According to a report in the Guardian, the US had backed negotiations with two prominent jihadi clerics in a failed attempt to save the life of an American hostage.
A Chinese court has charged the captain of a plane that crashed four years ago killing 44 people due to failing to observe necessary safety rules and abandoning the plane after the crash.
A media adviser was charged after kidnapping of a bank executive on an Indonesian island.
In 2013 the Afghan economy collected $2billion internally but spent $5.4 billion
Government says it will "carefully" analyze the situation but the cease-fire is "a good starting point.”
The program calls for setting up a European Fund for Strategic Investments in the European Investment Bank to mobilize €315 billion in new investments
Lt. Gen. James Terry says “significant progress” has already been made in halting the ISIL's advances
United Nations Disengagement Observer Force has been monitoring a buffer zone in the Golan Heights since a 1974 Syrian-Israeli cease-fire
The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 allows the U.S. to help Ukraine restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity
US will not support the resolution aims to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands by 2017
The loss of leadership has diminished ISIL's ability to conduct operations against local fighters, according to the Pentagon