Published time: 12 Feb, 2016 00:10 Edited time: 12 Feb, 2016 00:40
Hostilities in Syria could come to a halt within a week after confirmation by the government of President Bashar Assad and the opposition, according to an official communiqué from the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting.
A mechanism to help resolve humanitarian issues in Syria has been developed, which includes the creation of a task force that will begin work on Friday.
A press conference is being held after the meeting of the so-called Syria Support Group, with the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura.
Kerry noted that the commitments agreed upon during the Munich meeting are only on paper and that the “real test” of progress will be to get all of the parties involved in the Syrian conflict to sign on and honor them.
Russia is counting on the US and other ISSG countries to put pressure on the Syrian opposition to cooperate with the UN, Lavrov said.
While Lavrov, Kerry and Mistura held a press conference to explain the results of the ISSG meeting, separate statements came from several EU leaders. Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was quoted by Reuters as saying that the US and Russia should coordinate their military actions in Syria “more closely.”
DETAILS TO FOLLOW
Syria Support Group talks ran longer than expected on Thursday, beginning at 7 pm local time and running over five hours, before resuming again for the finalizing of a communique. The last Syria Support Group meeting was held in Vienna on November 14.
In the beginning of February, the United Nations temporarily suspended peace talks aimed at resolving Syria’s five-year civil war. The UN said that the process was to be resumed on February 25 and called on the sides involved to do more to acheive progress.
“I have concluded, frankly, that after the first week of preparatory talks, there is more work to be done, not only by us but by the stakeholders,” the UN mediator, Staffan de Mistura, said after meeting with the opposition delegation at a Geneva hotel.
The latest inconclusive Syrian peace talks were attended by representatives of the Syrian government, the Saudi-backed coalition, and the High Negotiation Committee (HNC), which sent 35 leading members, excluding Syrian Kurdish groups, along with some additional moderate opposition members supported by Russia. Turkey insisted on the exclusion of the Syrian Kurdish party, the PYD.