Russia, US seeking intraSyria UN political solution
HAMEED SHAHEEN ISLAMABAD—Russia and United States as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), in a Washington meeting have recognized the progress made thus far regarding cessation of hostilities (CoH) in Syria, in accordance with their Joint Statement (JS) of February 22, 2016 with stress on improving humanitarian access, says a US State depatt’s latest media note.
Noting significant decrease in violence in North Latakia and East Ghouta, the JS noticed difficulties faced by the CoH in several areas of the country in ensuring humanitarian access to the besieged areas. It was agreed to enhance efforts to promote humanitarian aid to all people in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254. Taking note of urgency of cessation of hostilities the JS re-emphasized the terms of the COH with field commanders on all sides, especially in Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta, and Latakia, where “we are determined to improve and sustain the CoH. We are using our influence with the CoH parties on the ground to press them to abide by the COH, refrain from disproportionate responses to provocations and demonstrate restraint”. Supporting a political settlement in warn-battered Syria both Russia and USA expressed their joint determination to redouble efforts to reach a political settlement of the Syrian conflict consistent with UNSCR 2254 through the intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva under UN auspices. “We concur that these talks should be resumed on the basis of the Special Envoy’s mediator’s summary of April 27, in particular the annex addressing the fundamental issues for a viable transition, and the section on the commonalities on the political transition”. Ankara is.
NATO member Turkey was initially a reluctant partner in the US-led coalition against IS and faced criticism in the earlier stages of the Syrian war for failing to stop foreign fighters crossing its borders and joining the radical group.
Turkey has meanwhile said it needs more help from Western allies in the fight against IS, particularly near the Syrian border, where the Turkish town of Kilis has been hit for weeks by repeated rocket fire.—Agencies