Halting hostilities in Aleppo may take place in hours to come – Lavrov

MOSCOW, May 3 (KUNA) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday halting hostilities in the Syrian northwestern city of Aleppo might be announced in a few hours.
Lavrov, at a joint news conference with UN Special Representative to Syria Staffan de Mistura, hoped the next few hours would witness a cessation of hostilities in Aleppo, which has been bombarded for some 10 days killing and wounded hundreds of people.
He said the efforts of Russia and the US aimed at expanding cessation of hostilities to include all of Syria. He said the US and Russia agreed to set up a center in Geneva to monitor the truce in Syria.
Lavrov urged the moderate Syrian opposition to be away from positions of terrorist groups. “Whoever considers himself moderate should be distant from terrorists and end every relation with them,” he added.
He criticized calls to set up demilitarized zones in Syria and the use of forces to end the conflict. “Raising these issue shows lack of interest in political settlement in Syria,” he said.
Lavrov said UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions 2254 and 2278 were the foundation for a settlement in Syria.
He called on Washington to exercise pressure on its partners to abondon the language of threats. “Only the Syrian people have the right to determine their future,” he said.
He commended de Mistura’s endeavors over the recent round of negotiations in Geneva.
“The UN efforts are in the right direction,” he said.
De Mistura said the resumption of Syrian negotiations in Geneva depended on the restoration of calm in Aleppo.
“If calm is restored in Aleppo and the hostilities are ceased, then we can resume the negotiations in Geneva and continue offering humanitarian aid because these issues are related to each other,” he said. (end) as.bs

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