Russia makes proposals for Syria ceasefire, awaits reaction from US – Lavrov

Thursday 11 Feb, 2016


Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Russia has made “specific proposals” on a ceasefire in Syria and is waiting for a reaction from the US, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

We made proposals on implementing a ceasefire, quite specific ones,” Lavrov said. “We are waiting for a US response before putting them before the International Syria Support Group.

Lavrov made the statement before meeting his US counterpart John Kerry on the eve of the start of the Munich Security Conference.

Following the meeting, the two diplomats instructed the experts to prepare “specific proposals” to be discussed at the meeting of the support group on Syria, Russia’s FM spokeswoman, Maria Zakharava, told reporters.  She added that their talks had focused on how to reach a Syrian ceasefire and the country’s humanitarian situation.

Earlier on Thursday, Moscow said that negotiations about a possible ceasefire were still ongoing and no solution has yet been found.

The process is very fragile, discussions are under way, one can’t speak about unanimity in the process of a Syrian settlement,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call. His statement came in response to a question asking if Moscow had proposed March 1 as a possible date for the start of a ceasefire.

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Policemen walk in front of the Bayerischer Hof hotel, the location for the 52nd Munich Security Conference (MSC), in Munich, southern Germany, on February 11, 2016. © Thomas Kienzle

Earlier, AP and Reuters cited anonymous US officials who claimed that Russia has suggested a March 1 ceasefire in Syria.

A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to AP, said that Washington is wary of accepting Moscow’s proposal.

Meanwhile, answering a reporter’s question on the issue, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that he was not aware of Russia’s suggestion of a specific date to establish a ceasefire. He added that for Washington an “immediate ceasefire” is preferable.

We are ready to discuss the modalities of a ceasefire in Syria,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters in Moscow. “This is what will be talked about in Munich,” he said as cited by TASS.

The Munich Security Conference, which will take place from February 12-14, is due to focus on global security issues, with the war in Syria being a main part of discussions. A series of multilateral and bilateral meetings are expected to take place on the sidelines of the conference. These include a meeting by members of the International Syria Support Group on Thursday to consult on the process of ending the five-year war.

The intra-Syrian indirect talks hosted in Geneva have been suspended until February 25, according to UN envoy Staffan de Mistura. Citing difficulties with certain procedural issues for the break in talks, De Mistura said he remained determined to continue with the negotiations. The announcement came following problems with the list of members of the Saudi-backed opposition.

READ MORE: Saudi, US-backed Syrian opposition undermines peace talks – Russian FM spokeswoman

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RT on Wednesday that some Syrian opposition members backed by Riyadh and Washington had come to Geneva with “non-negotiable” stances, insisting on preconditions for the talks.




One Response to “Russia makes proposals for Syria ceasefire, awaits reaction from US – Lavrov”

  1. salty says:

    Why the Syria Ceasefire is a Long Shot

    February 14, 2016.

    An end to the Syrian conflict is desperately needed. But the latest plan for a cessation of violence is unlikely to take hold, as the deal struck by international powers is based on fundamentally opposing premises.

    In short, Washington and its allies want regime change, while Russia and Iran insist that President Bashar Assad and his government are the legitimate ruling authorities in Syria. All sides are mandated by UN resolutions to respect the sovereign will of the Syrian people – to determine the political future of their country.
    But the Western powers and their regional partners, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar in particular, are insisting – explicitly or implicitly – on their objective of ousting Assad. This premise of unlawful interference in the affairs of a sovereign state is the crux of the problem, and why the latest seeming agreement for a nationwide truce is as thin as the paper it is written on.

    US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced the proposal for a cessation of hostilities following six hours of negotiations with 15 other member states belonging to the International Syria Support Group in Munich last Friday. The truce is supposed to come into effect later this week.

    The truce outlined in an ISSG communique does not apply to two militant groups: Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL/ISIL or Daesh) and the Jabhat al Nusra Front. Both are linked to Al Qaeda and are officially listed by international governments as terrorist organizations. The provision also exempts “other terror groups” but does not specify the names. This is a major loophole in the proposed truce deal which will make its application extremely problematic if not infeasible. That loophole also alludes to the foreign-backed nature of the conflict in Syria.

    Following the Munich communique, the Syrian government and its Russian ally both said that their combined military operations against terror groups would continue.

    President Assad vowed that his armed forces were moving ahead with their offensive, backed by Russian air power, to “retake the whole country.” He said the battle for the northern city of Aleppo – the country’s largest – was crucial to “cut off terrorist supply routes from Turkey.”

    Given the delineation of terror groups in the Munich communique and in recent UN resolutions (2249 and 2254), it would appear incontestable that the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies have every right to maintain the military momentu

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