17:04 GMT +322 July 2019
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    Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin speaks during a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

    Russia Questions Parts of French Plan for Aleppo, Welcomes Larger UN Role

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    Russia would welcome an expanded humanitarian role in Aleppo for the United Nations but questions elements of a French proposal to the Security Council regarding civilian evacuations from the Syrian city, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters Friday.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – He was citing a draft Council resolution presented by French Ambassador Francois Delattre calling for the safe departure of Aleppo residents under the watch of international observers; immediate, unconditional delivery of humanitarian aid; and assurances of security for hospitals and medical personnel.

    "I haven’t seen it yet; it was described to us," Churkin said of Delattre’s plan. "Some elements of what was said, I thought, might be questionable, but something which would have greater involvement of UN humanitarian agencies is something we have been advocating all along."

    Following Churkin’s remarks, US Ambassador Samantha Power said Washington supports the French initiative and hopes the Council will vote on the draft "over the weekend at least," considering the urgency with which Aleppo residents need to be evacuated.

    "We support the French initiative to secure a UN Security Council resolution to address the need for monitoring, for humanitarian assistance, for safe evacuations. It is critical, it is urgently needed," Power said.

    Earlier Friday, the Security Council met in emergency session to hear updates about Syria from Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien as well as the French proposal for Aleppo.

    The city in recent months has become a major battleground and has been divided into a government-held western zone and militant-controlled eastern districts. Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Friday that Aleppo is now under full government control with the completion of a Syrian army operation to retake the eastern districts.

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    United Nations, Stephen O'Brien, Churkin, Aleppo, France, Syria, Russia
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