13 December 2017

UN: Ceasefire agreement holding in south-west Syria

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The UN envoy for Syria said Monday the ceasefire agreement to de-escalate fighting in southwest Syria has held on, and could contribute to fresh peace talks in Geneva. reports citing AA.

"The agreement is basically broadly holding quite well. l know in all agreements, there is a period of adjustment, we are watching that very carefully," Staffan de Mistura told reporters on the first day of the seventh round of Syrian peace talks at the UN headquarters in Geneva.

The U.S. and Russia reached a ceasefire agreement for southwestern Syria on Friday at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany following a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The leaders decided to establish three de-escalation zones in Syria where joint security forces of the U.S., Jordan and Russia will ensure peace.

Speaking about the ceasefire, de Mistura said, “We can say, we believe it has fairly good chances of working out. We consider it a significant step forward.”

De Mistura said the de-escalation zones, along the border with Jordan, Lebanon and Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, would contribute to peace talks in Geneva and Astana.

"We are not expecting a breakthrough... but some incremental developments,” he said while speaking about the peace talks.

The seventh round of Syrian peace talks began on Monday as the UN envoy met separately with the regime and opposition delegation.

De Mistura met a Bashar al-Assad regime team headed by Bashar al-Jaafari, and the main opposition delegation headed by Nasr al-Hariri.

According to the UN, this round of talks will focus on four topics -- Syria’s constitution, governance, elections and the fight against terrorism – the same issues which have been discussed previously.

This May, the sixth round of talks ended without progress.

Since civil war in Syria erupted in March 2011, more than 250,000 people have been killed, according to the UN. The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.

2017.07.10 / 22:29
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