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Talks intensified to ensure Syrian ceasefire deal holds

Talks intensified to ensure Syrian ceasefire deal holds

Syria

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerryon Monday has said talks are ongoing to reinvigorate the ceasefire in Syria, but insisted that all parties must commit for the cessation of hostilities to work.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Kerry said whilst the ceasefire is at the heart of these talks, dignitaries involved at the two-day meeting were trying to raise the level of accountability that will accompany the day to day process of implementing this ceasefire.

“Both sides, the opposition and the regime, have contributed to this chaos, and we are working over these next hours intensely in order to try to restore the cessation of hostilities and at the same time to raise the level of accountability that will accompany the day to day process of implementing this ceasefire,” Kerry said.

Both sides, the opposition and the regime, have contributed to this chaos, and we are working over these next hours intensely in order to try to restore the cessation of hostilities.

Syria announced temporary local truces in other areas last week but has so far failed to extend them to Aleppo, where government air strikes and rebel shelling have killed hundreds of civilians in the past week, including more than 50 people in a hospital that rebels say was deliberately targeted.

After meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir and Stefan de Mistura, Kerry said he hoped for more clarity in the next day or so on restoring the nationwide ceasefire.

The United States and Russia had agreed to keep extra staff in Geneva to work on it.

“Russia and the United States have agreed that there will be additional personnel who will work from here in Geneva on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in order to try to make sure there is a better job and a better ability to be able to enforce the cessation of hostilities day to day,” said Kerry.

The civil war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of people, driven millions from their homes, created the world’s worst refugee crisis and provided a base for Islamic State militants who have launched attacks elsewhere.

The fighting has drawn in global powers and regional states, while all diplomatic efforts to resolve it have foundered over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who refuses to accept opposition demands that he leaves power.

The United States and Russia have taken leading roles in the latest diplomatic initiative, which began after Moscow joined the war last year with an air campaign that tipped the balance of power in favour of Assad, its ally.

Reuters