Secretary John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that arranging local ceasefire and access to humanitarian aid are quite possible. The two foreign ministers are convening an international conference on Syrian crisis, the so-called Geneva II, on January 22 in Switzerland.
“(We) talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire. Maybe a localized ceasefire, beginning with Aleppo... And both of us have agreed to try to work to see if that could be achieved,” Kerry said after his meeting with Lavrov today in Paris. (Reuters, 13 January)
Enforcing local ceasefire could serve as confidence-building measure in the nearly three-year-old civil war, Kerry added. He said Syrian rebels backed by the West have agreed that, if the Syrian government commits to such a partial ceasefire, “they would live up to it.”
Lavrov, whose government backs Assad, said the Syrian government had indicated it might provide access for humanitarian aid to reach besieged areas. “We await similar steps by the opposition,” Lavrov added. (Reuters, 13 January)
Photo credit: Secretary of State John Kerry (C) with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Envoy to Syria, at a press conference in Paris. 13 January 2014. (AFP)