Lavrov: Russia, America to Enforce Fresh Measures on Syria

Lavrov: Russia, America to Enforce Fresh Measures on Syria
Sat Jul 16, 2016 20:36:00

Russia and the United States have agreed to implement soon a series of new measures for restoring a fragile ceasefire across Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow on Friday that the two sides had agreed on enforcing their decisions regarding Syria in a matter of days.

“We have talked a lot about this today, and the measures that we have agreed upon and that we will have to start implementing within the next few days... I do hope they'll enable us to solve this problem,” said Lavrov.

The Russian top diplomat said the main bone of contention between Moscow and Washington during the negotiations was how to take “practical steps on the ground to separate the opposition that is sensible and is ready to be involved in a political process from the terrorists.”

The US and Russia announced a broad ceasefire agreement in late February to facilitate UN-backed peace talks between the Syrian government and some armed opposition groups. The initiative has largely held across Syria although Moscow and Washington have introduced localized truces to reduce hostilities.

Under the truce agreement, attacks are allowed on the Daesh (ISIS / ISIL) Takfiri terrorist group and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. Russia, which carries out airstrikes against those groups based on a request from the Syrian government, has been repeatedly accused of attacking the positions of the so-called moderate opposition in Syria. Moscow has denied any deliberate attacks and has called on those groups to leave areas controlled by terrorists.

Lavrov said both the US and Russia agree on the need for the opposition to disassociate themselves from groups such as the Nusra Front, saying the two were quite convinced that “these difficulties could have been overcome long ago in the past months.”

“… we presume that those remaining on the positions occupied by terrorists, despite having been urged to leave them for months, are perhaps hardly different from terrorists themselves,” Lavrov said, adding that the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) should “outlaw” groups that still insist on remaining in the militant-held Syrian territories.

Lavrov also said that Russia and the US, as co-chairs of the ISSG, have intensified cooperation to provide joint dynamics to the efforts toward implementing UN Security Council resolutions regarding Syria.

He said Moscow and Washington have common understanding as to what needs to be done to intensify a dispute settlement process in Syria and to rid the country of the terrorists.

"Our common target is to secure a long term ceasefire in the whole territory of Syria - once again I will repeat in brackets - with the exception of ISIS (Daesh) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) which will see no mercy. Our common target is to increase that positive (effect) that was reached in the framework of humanitarian aid delivery. Since the beginning of this year humanitarian access was secured to all the 18 besieged regions. And our common target is to increase efforts in assisting political reforms in Syria in accordance with the resolution number 2254."

S/SH 11

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