Partial Ceasefire in Syria Reduced Violence: Kerry to Lavrov

Partial Ceasefire in Syria Reduced Violence: Kerry to Lavrov
Thu Mar 24, 2016 18:34:55

US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Moscow on Thursday a partial truce in Syria has produced a fragile but beneficial reduction in violence in the Middle Eastern country.

Kerry was speaking at the start of a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and will later meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"It's fair to say three weeks ago there were very, very few people who believed a cessation of hostilities was possible in Syria," Kerry told Lavrov at the start of their talks in Moscow.

"The result of that work has produced some progress. There has been a fragile (yet) nevertheless beneficial reduction in violence," the top US diplomat said.

Kerry said there was a hope that his meetings with Russian officials could find a way to end the conflict in Syria “as fast as possible.”

His Russian counterpart Lavrov also noted that the cooperation between US and Russia is based on forming a balance of interests of all sides involved in Syria and outside it.

“Our cooperation on Syria, our persistence allowed us to succeed because we worked … by forming a balance of interests, not only those of Moscow and Washington but also of all the sides involved both in Syria and outside it," Lavrov said.

A temporary truce agreement engineered by Russia and the United States, which came into force across Syria on February 27, has been holding despite minor reports of violations by the warring sides.

Peace talks in Geneva between representatives of the Syrian government and militant groups have been stalled, and Washington believes that Moscow, closely allied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, can push Damascus to make concessions.

The talks on Syria collapsed in early February after both the government and the opposition accused each other of violating the terms of a tentative ceasefire which was supposed to be respected during the time of the negotiations.

According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict in the Arab country has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people and displaced nearly half of its pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders, Press TV reported.

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