Assad game for Eid ceasefire

Final decision to be announced today

 The UN-Arab League mediator for the Syrian conflict, Lakhdar Brahimi, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted a holiday ceasefire, though a final announcement was expected to come later.

“President accepted, statement to be issued on Thursday,” a diplomat present at a closed-door briefing said Brahimi told the 15-nation council via video link. He was speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Brahimi was expanding on remarks he made earlier on Wednesday to reporters in Cairo. After Brahimi spoke, the Syrian government appeared to contradict him, saying that its military command was still studying a proposal for a holiday ceasefire with rebels.

On the way into the council meeting, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow hoped Brahimi's plan for a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha would be successful.

"We support it very strongly," Churkin said. "We worked very hard in support of Mr. Brahimi in making sure there is a chance that might happen."

Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong echoed Churkin's remarks. "We support a truce and we support Mr Brahimi's effort," Li said. "I think it's important for all parties to understand the importance of peace and stability."

"If there is one percent chance (of a ceasefire) then I think we should make 100 percent effort to make that happen," he said.

The United States and European council members blame Russia, a staunch ally and key arms supplier for Assad's government, and China for the council's deadlock on the 19-month-long conflict. 

Brahimi also told the Security Council that he needs its "strong and unanimous support."

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