Russia to press Assad regime to abide by CoH – US official

NEW YORK, May 27 (KUNA) — A US representative underscored Friday that Russia has a special responsibility to press the Assad regime to abide by the cessation of hostilities and end its bombardment and siege of innocent Syrian civilians.
The Security Council held closed consultations on the situation in Syria, where Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura briefed the representatives through video conference.
Ambassador Samantha Power of the US told the press that her country shares de Mistura’s frustrations and concerns with the insufficient humanitarian access, and the need for real progress on the political talks.
On the cessation of hostilities, Ambassador Power said it is clear that violence has increased in the past month and is nearing pre-cessation-of-hostilities levels, as she confirmed to the press that it is also clear “that the dangers to the cessation are largely being driven by the Syrian regime and its allies and attacks on civilians.” Last week in Vienna, she said, Russia signed on to a joint statement highlighting the regime’s commitment to cease using indiscriminate force, intensifying efforts to get all parties to reduce violence, and committing to work with the Syrian regime to minimize air operations over areas predominantly inhabited by civilians, which of course, are the very areas that have been struck lately, she added.
As Russia is committed in the joint statement to press the parties to ensure delivery of humanitarian assistance, the US official said that meanwhile, large areas of Syria remain besieged, in spite of UN efforts to deliver aid.
Despite the Council and the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) raising Darayya again and again in nearly every single session for the last two months, Power affirmed that the regime “continues to ignore the international community and it persists in this totally inhumane policy.” The US official condemned the violence committed by both the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Al-Nusra, in the strongest terms.
“Whether it is the regime, ISIL (IS), or Nusra, we must all condemn indiscriminate attacks on civilians and terrorism,” she said.
This was the first briefing to the Council by de Mistura since the conclusion of the last round of talks in Geneva and since the ISSG met in Vienna last week. (end) mao.mb

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