The United Nations Security Council is to vote on a resolution regarding Syria on Saturday, with all eyes on Russia, Syria’s strongest ally on the council.
Russia initially rejected parts of the latest draft, but it remains unclear which way they will vote on Saturday, as hope remains that the resolution could still be passed.
Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told reporters that the council was “very close… two words away" from an accord.
Whilst the latest text does not explicitly mention sanctions, parts of the resolution are still opposed by Russia, including warnings of “further measures” and that the council “fully supports” the Arab League plan.
A Western official commented that if an agreement was to be reached at the UN,
"It would scare the Assad regime a lot more than a more robust text vetoed by Russians."
"It would mean the Russians are slowly accepting the idea that Assad will depart and would also send a powerful message to people around Assad that it might be time to leave the sinking ship."
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, reportedly spoke on the phone with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in an attempt to smooth over any opposition leading upto the vote.
Meanwhile, more than 200 people were reported to be killed in the city of Homs as President Assad’s troops shelled the city. The UN has ceased to estimate the number of deaths since the end of January, citing that it was now too difficult to confirm any casualties.
Complaints have been made to the Court of Appeal against 33 Tamil councillors in the Northern and Eastern provinces for a letter to the UN High Commissioner condemning the genocide of Tamils by Sinhala state forces, reports the Island.
Protestors gathered in Colombo on Monday to call for the release of a prominent Tamil rights campaigner, Balendran Jeyakumari, who has been detained under the Sri Lankan Prevention of Terror Act (PTA) since March 2014.
Sri Lanka has increased its 2015 defence budget by 12.25% to a record high despite the end of the armed conflict over 5 years ago.
According to the government's official figures released on Friday in a bill tabled in parliament,
The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Iyad Madani, will visit Sri Lanka shortly, following an invitation by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, reports Arab News, citing a senior official within the Sri Lankan embassy.