Published time: 22 Feb, 2016 21:01 Edited time: 22 Feb, 2016 21:36
The statement was first published on the Kremlin’s official website on Monday. This is the full text:
Dear friends, I have just spoken over the phone to the US president, Barack Obama. The initiative came from the Russian side but, without a doubt, the interest was mutual.
During the discussion we approved a joint statement by Russia and the United States as the Co-Chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) on the Cessation of Hostilities in this country. Approval of this statement was preceded by intensive work by teams of Russian and American experts. The positive experience from our cooperation on the destruction of Syrian chemicals weapons was used in this work.
Our negotiators held several rounds of closed talks. In the end, an important and concrete result was achieved. There is an agreement to cease hostilities in Syria starting midnight Damascus time on February 27, 2016 on conditions that are a part to the Russian-US statement.
The essence of these conditions: By noon of February 26, 2016 all of the warring parties in Syria must confirm to us – or our American partners – their commitment to the ceasefire. The Russian and American militaries will jointly determine and map the territory where these armed groups are operating. No military operations will be carried out against them by the Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Russian Armed Forces, or the US-led Coalition. In their turn, the opposition will cease their military actions against the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic and groups that support them.
As for ISIS (Islamic State, Daesh), Jabhat al-Nusra, and other terrorist organizations designated as such by the UN Security Council – they are completely excluded from the cessation of hostilities. Strikes against them will continue.
It’s crucial that Russia and the US, as Co-Chairs of the International Syria Support Group, are ready to set up an efficient mechanism to monitor and control the ceasefire between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups.
n order to achieve this, a communication hotline will be established and, if necessary, a working group to exchange relevant information. Russia will carry out the necessary work with Damascus – Syria’s legitimate government. We expect that the US will do the same with their allies and groups supported by them.
I am sure that these actions, coordinated with the US, will be able to radically change the course of the crisis situation in Syria. There will finally be a real chance to end years-long bloodshed and violence. As a result, the access of humanitarian aid should be facilitated to all Syrian citizens.
Importantly, conditions for a true political process through a wide political dialog in Geneva have been created under the auspices of the UN.
Contemporary history, sadly, knows plenty of cases when one-sided actions without UN approval have been made to suit short-time political interests, leading to dramatic results. Everyone knows these examples: Somali, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.
Compared to this, the US-Russian agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria and their joint realization with the participation of all of the member countries of ISSG can become an example of responsible action that can be taken against the terror threat by the international community based on the norms of international law and UN principles.
I hope that the Syrian government and all our partners inside and outside of the region will support the steps decided upon by the representatives of Russia and the US.