Ban calls warring Syrian sides to uphold responsibility towards protecting civilians

NEW YORK, May 2 (KUNA) — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called upon the warring Syrian sides to recommit immediately to the cessation of hostilities and to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians from the effects of the conflict.
In a statement issued today, the UN Chief expressed profound concern about the dangerous escalation of fighting in and around Aleppo and the intolerable suffering, counted in mounting deaths and destruction, it is causing among civilians.
Noting the temporary re-launch of the cessation in Damascus and Lattakiya governorates, Ban stressed the need to expand these arrangements to other parts of Syria, with a special urgency for Aleppo.
He reiterated in the statement his call on all concerned regional and international actors, in particular the co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group – Russia and US — to redouble their efforts in support of the Syrian parties to put the cessation of hostilities back on track. “The cessation of hostilities has alleviated the plight of some of the Syrian people, but it also constitutes a vital component of the overall process set up and sustained in Geneva by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), including the political transition process under the UN Special Envoy’s leadership, Staffan de Mistura,” he added.
The UN official affirmed in his statement that the collapse of the cessation of hostilities will only bring more violence, death and destruction while further weakening efforts to find a negotiated solution to this brutal war.
Earlier today, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura met with the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in Geneva to discuss ongoing efforts to reaffirm and re-implement the cessation of hostilities throughout Syria, following increased fighting in many parts of the country.
He re-emphasized his appeal to both the US and Russia to renew their efforts to protect and restore the cessation of hostilities nationwide.
De Mistura, also met separately, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. (end) mao.ibi

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