Fragile partial truce in Syria reduced levels of violence there, according to U.S. State Secretary
According to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a fragile partial truce in Syria has significantly reduced levels of violence.
John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State: "It's fair to say that a few weeks ago there were very very few people who believed that a cessation of hostilities was possible in Syria. [ ..... ] And it is undeniable that the result of that work has produced some progress. There has been a fragile but nevertheless beneficial reduction in violence, some say as much as 85 to 90 per cent in Syria."
After five years of conflict in Syria that has killed over 250,000 people and caused the world's worst refugee crisis, Washington and Moscow reached a deal for a cessation of hostilities. Now the United States want to see a further reduction of violence as well a greater flow of humanitarian aid reaching besieged areas in Syria.
John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State: "But we both know that more needs to be done in terms of both the reduction of violence and the flow of humanitarian goods."
John Kerry will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin this Thursday. The meeting was arranged following Putin's surprise announcement on March 14 that he was partially withdrawing his forces from Syria.
John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State: "I am hopeful that these meetings here in Moscow today have an ability to be able to further define and chart the road ahead so that we can bring this conflict in Syria to a close as fast as possible. And also so that we can find a way to cooperate on the other challenges of the region - Yemen, Libya, Middle East peace. And indeed prove that two powerful nations that are being able to find cooperation in the past few years despite differences, have an ability in the face of this urgency, to do what is necessary to meet the challenge. And I look forward to some very constructive conversations today to that effect."
During the meeting Kerry is also expected to press Putin over a political transition for Syria. While the United States want Assad to step aside, Russia says only the Syrian people can decide his fate at the ballot box and have avoided any talk of regime change.