Europe

French UN ambassador: emergency meeting called on Syria

An emergency meeting of the Security Council has been called to consider the situation in war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo, France's ambassador to the United Nations said Friday.

Francois Delattre told reporters outside Security Council chambers that his country and Germany asked for the Friday meeting. He said if an agreement can't be reached on safely evacuating civilians and enabling humanitarian aid into the besieged city under the eye of international observers, France and its partners could call for an emergency special session of the 193-member General Assembly.

Delattre said France has already begun drafting a resolution for consideration by the council.

Evacuations from eastern Aleppo sealed the end of the Syrian rebels' most important stronghold and marked a watershed moment in the country's civil war, now in its sixth year.

The evacuation stalled after an eruption of gunfire raised fears that a peaceful surrender of the opposition enclave could fall apart with thousands of people believed to be still inside.

Delattre said the council meeting would include a briefing by U.N. humanitarian affairs chief Stephen O'Brien. "We keep having conflicting reports about what exactly is happening on the ground," he said.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully told Security Council members prior to a closed meeting on Aleppo that the council has so far been unable to meet its responsibilities in Aleppo.

"Unless that is going to change, it is our view that an emergency special session of the General Assembly is an appropriate next step," he said.