Creating new perspectives since 2009

Kerry, Lavrov committed to ‘sustained’ aid access to Syria

February 21, 2016 at 1:09 pm

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov commit themselves to ensuring humanitarian aid access to Syria in “a sustained and unimpeded manner”, according to the State Department spokesman on Saturday.

John Kirby said in statement that Kerry and Lavrov discussed on phone Saturday the UN-led efforts to help aid access to Syria and cessation of hostilities in the war-torn country.

“The ministers viewed as promising the work of the humanitarian assistance task force, which was able to coordinate the delivery of food, water and medicine to thousands of Syrians in the majority of those areas identified as most in need by the UN,” Kirby said.

“They also re-committed themselves to ensuring that additional access be forthcoming immediately and that future deliveries be conducted in a sustained and unimpeded manner.”

Read: Saudi Arabia to supply Syrian opposition with SAMs

Kirby also noted that Kerry and his Russian counterpart discussed the progress made in developing a draft set of modalities for a cessation of hostilities.

“Those modalities are not yet fully agreed upon, but both ministers appreciated the scope and attention to detail task force members applied in drafting them,” Kirby added.

The two task forces were created during the recent International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting in German city of Munich – co-chaired by Russia and US.

Delegates met Friday in Switzerland’s Geneva to talk about the decisions that members of ISSG had agreed last week, including what the cessation of hostilities for Syria would look like.

According to the deal inked in Munich humanitarian access to besieged areas in Syria would enter into effect this Friday, along with a nationwide cessation of hostilities.

Read: At least 340 children have drowned in the eastern Mediterranean since September

During the phone call Kerry also noted his “deep concern over the indiscriminate nature of continued bombing by Russian military aircraft and the lives being lost as a result”.

Kirby said Kerry conveyed to Lavrov that “responsibility [for abiding by international obligations to avoid civilian casualties] lies first and foremost with the [Bashar al-] Assad regime and its supporters”.

At least 250,000 people have been killed and 10 million displaced since the Syria conflict began in 2011, according to UN figures.

INTERACTIVE: Sealed borders: EU’s response to #RefugeeCrisis