European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini © AFP
European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has welcomed a US-Russia deal on a nationwide truce in war-torn Syria, calling on the United Nations to prepare proposals for political transition talks in the Arab country.
Early on Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed on a deal in Syria, which includes a nationwide ceasefire effective from September 12, improved aid access and joint attacks against Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country.
“The agreement ... is very welcome. All parties to the conflict, other than groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United Nations Security Council, must now ensure its effective implementation,” Mogherini said on Saturday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shake hands at the end of a press conference closing their meetings on the Syrian crisis on September 9, 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland. © AFP
The EU’s top diplomat further urged “the UN to prepare a proposal for political transition” to serve as “the starting point for resumption of the intra-Syrian talks.”
Moscow and Washington reached the deal in the Swiss city of Geneva after some 13 hours of marathon talks on the Syrian crisis in order to put peace process back on track.
Foreign-backed militant groups abandoned the last UN-brokered talks in Geneva in April after declaring a new war against the Syrian government.
Turkey, which launched its first major military incursion into Syria on August 24, has also welcomed the truce agreement.
In a statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Ankara would make efforts to “ensure the effective implementation” of the truce and to turn the deal into a longer-term political solution.
The statement claimed that Turkey was already making preparations for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Syria's northern province of Aleppo in conjunction with the United Nations.
Syrian forces walk in a bombed-out street in Ramussa on September 9, 2016, a day after they took control of the strategically important district on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo. © AFP
Turkey is said to be among the main supporters of militants fighting the Damascus government. According to reports, Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri elements in Syria and facilitates their safe passage into the violence-wracked country.
The Russia-US agreement came as Turkey presses on with its so-called Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria, which it claims is aimed at pushing both Daesh terrorists and Kurdish fighters out of the Syrian border area.
The incursion is, however, believed to be part of Turkey’s crackdown on Kurdish forces which Ankara has declared as terrorists.
Joining the incursion, which has so far cost the lives of dozens of civilians, have been hordes of militants that Ankara has been supporting against the central government in Damascus for years.
Meanwhile, Syria’s main opposition group, the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), cautiously welcomed the ceasefire deal.
“We welcome the deal if it is going to be enforced,” Bassma Kodmani, a leading member of the HNC, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and Western powers, said on Saturday.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.