United Nations chief hails U.S.-Russian accord on Syria

Ban- Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has welcomed the agreement announced by U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, on the terms of a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria scheduled to come into effect on Feb. 27.

The secretary-general on Tuesday in New York strongly urged the parties to abide by the terms of the agreement.

He highlighted that much work now lied ahead to ensure its implementation, and the international community, International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and Ceasefire Taskforce.

Mr. Ban said the ISSG and the Syrian parties must remain steadfast in their resolve.

The ISSG, comprising the Arab League, the European Union, the United Nations, and 17 countries including the U.S., Russia and China, laid the groundwork for the intra-Syria talks at a meeting in Munich in November 2015.

The secretary general said being aware of the lengthy and detailed discussions that preceded the announcement, he believed the agreement, if respected, would constitute a significant step forward in the implementation of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).
“It demonstrates the commitment of the ISSG to exert influence on the warring parties to bring about an immediate reduction in violence as a first step toward a more durable ceasefire.

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“It further contributes to creating an environment conducive for the resumption of political negotiations.

“Above all, it is a long-awaited signal of hope to the Syrian people that after five years of conflict there may be an end to their suffering in sight,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, expressed his readiness to support implementation of the agreement, both on the ground in Damascus and in Geneva.

De Mistura was mediating indirect talks between the Syrian government and opposition to negotiate an early end to the Syrian conflict. (Xinhua/NAN)

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