ISSG agree on humanitarian access, political process and cessation of hostilities in Syria

Munich, SANA – The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) talks adopted a document consisting of three main parts devoted to humanitarian aid delivery, political process and cessation of hostilities.

A press conference to announce the outcomes of the ISSG meeting in Munich was held by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his U.S. counterpart John Kerry and the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Lavrov said the ISSG members committed to the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, including humanitarian aid, the political process and a ceasefire, which excludes organizations designated as terrorist by the UN Security Council.

He welcomed what was agreed on regarding principles to reach a solution and ensure humanitarian access to all besieged areas without any exception.

He expressed concern about the terrorist groups’ hindering of humanitarian aid delivery by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross to the terrorist-besieged Kefraya and al-Fouaa towns in Idleb, noting that the ISSG issued a denunciation statement addressing this issue.

Lavrov clarified that it was agreed to form a task force chaired by the US and Russia that will meet tomorrow in Geneva to help humanitarian organizations comply with their commitments towards the civilians.

“We will work with the Syrian government and the opposition that is communicating with us [for humanitarian access],” said Lavrov, hoping that the US and the ISSG members will exercise influence on the opposition to fully cooperate with the UN.

He noted that humanitarian aid will be delivered by air, especially in Deir Ezzor and in other areas where necessary, but the most part of work should be done by land.

As for the cessation of hostilities, Lavrov said the task is a “thorny” one as there are many warring parties. “We are trying to unify our efforts to exercise influence on the groups on the ground through these countries,” he added.

Cessation of hostilities will commence in one week, during which period the Syrian government and the opposition groups will be able to take the necessary steps for a ceasefire, said Lavrov, adding that a task force has been established for the purpose that will be chaired by Russia and the US and includes diplomats and military personnel to know what takes place on the ground.

The task force, he explained, will delineate the territory held by ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council, “which is a special step in the right direction.”

The Russian Foreign Minister noted that the document adopted by the ISSG provides for the need of coordination not only in the political dimensions but also in the military dimensions. “This is a qualitative shift in approach and we welcome that.”

He also referred to the need of full implementation of the UN resolutions, especially those pertaining to stopping the flow of foreign militants and oil trade and smuggling operations.

Regarding the third point on the political process, the ISSG reaffirmed the imperative of resuming the Syrian-Syrian dialogue as soon as possible. They asserted that it is for the Syrian people to decide the future of Syria.

Lavrov said it is important that all the parties strictly abide by the resolution no 2254 without conditions, stressing that the dialogue must include a broad spectra of the opposition according to the UN resolutions.

He said the talk by some about a “Plan B” and about “preparing ground troops” to be sent into Syria “dangerous” and would only lead to aggravating the conflict, reiterating that the political process should be based on mutual agreement between the government and the opposition with its broad spectra.

Commenting on Kerry’s concern regarding the Syrian army’s operations in Aleppo, Lavrov said “You have the right to defend yourself and attack back those who held your territory.”

He made it clear that those who are leaving areas in eastern Aleppo are terrorists trying to flee, stressing that the Russian airstrikes against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other designated terrorist organizations will continue as the ceasefire does not include these groups.

For his part, Kerry said progress was made in the humanitarian aspect and that of cessation of hostilities, adding that this progress can be implemented and followed completely.

“We are doing everything in our power diplomatically to bring an end to this conflict,” he added.

Reem/H. Said

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