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Russian deputy FM urges US to exert pressure on sides not ready for Syrian peace talks

July 28, 2016, 14:19 UTC+3

A diplomat stresses the need to strengthen the ceasefire regime

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MOSCOW, July 28. /TASS/. Real pressure at sides not ready for talks by the US-led coalition will facilitate settlement in Syria, not week-long ceasefires, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on Thursday.

"Not seven more days of ceasefire are needed here, especially if it’s unilateral. It is necessary to strengthen the regime of cessation of hostilities and exert real pressure on those who are still not ready for talks, including for direct negotiations with the Syrian government - pressure from Washington, from other Western capitals, from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, from all those who are part of the US-led coalition against ISIL (terrorist organization banned in Russia)," Ryabkov said.

"I find it hard to keep up with a kaleidoscope of US proposals, with never-ending new elements in their position," the diplomat added. The essence of their proposals still remains the same though - "to avoid focusing on the main issue, namely the disengagement between Islamic State and Jebhat al-Nusra (terrorist organizations banned in Russia) on one side and the so-called moderate opposition on the other side, and also to create the reason for the international community to worry about a hard humanitarian situation," he concluded.

However, US demonstrates "a peculiar approach" in humanitarian matters, Ryabkov noted. "Those areas where people are literally besieged by terrorists - there are no humanitarian problems there. Those areas where Syrian forces carry out their operations immediately turn into humanitarian problems," the diplomat said.

"The humanitarian tragedy of the day is what is happening in Geneva and New York. Unchecked reports are blown out of proportion by US and other Western countries, people’s tragedies are being speculated on. This is a very cynical logic, it is unacceptable for us," he stressed.

Several media reported earlier today that Washington has proposed to establish a seven-day ceasefire in Syria in order to disengage between radical militants and moderate opposition. Media claimed that US State Secretary John Kerry put forward this proposal to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at their recent meeting in Laos.

A ceasefire regime brokered by Russia and the United States on February 22 officially came into effect in Syria at midnight Damascus time on February 27. This does not cover terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, both outlawed in Russia, and other groups recognized as terrorist by the United Nations Security Council.

An hour before the ceasefire came into force, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in support cessation of hostilities in Syria. The document was initiated by Russia and the United States and won support from all the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.

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