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Berlin welcomes Moscow’s support for 48-hour ceasefires in Syria

August 19, 2016, 15:37 UTC+3 BERLIN

German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sawsan Chebli has called Russia’s confirming its readiness to support the 48-hour pauses in Aleppo "a small glimpse of hope"

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Syrian government army servicemen

Syrian government army servicemen

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

BERLIN, August 19. /TASS/. Germany welcomes Russia’s support for 48-hour truces in Aleppo, government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a briefing on Friday.

"On behalf of the chancellor, I would like to say that she welcomes Russia’s complying with UN demand to ensure 48-hour pauses in Aleppo," he said. "We believe that special responsibility rests with Russia and Iran and hope that (Russia’s) statements will be backed up with deeds," he announced. "We urge all parties to observe these ceasefires" so that people can get medical and humanitarian aid, Seibert stated.

"This may be just the first step to ending the violence in Syria. It is necessary to achieve a ceasefire throughout the country, ensure unhindered access to humanitarian aid under the UN’s supervision in all spheres, as well as restarting the political process," he continued.

"We urge Russia to use its political influence in full," the spokesman asserted, noting that the conflict could not be stopped through military means.

German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sawsan Chebli, for her part, said Russia’s confirming its readiness to support the 48-hour pauses in Aleppo was "a small glimpse of hope".

"We are glad that yesterday Russia at least expressed readiness to support these 48-hour pauses," she said, noting that Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed this move.

The Russian Defense Ministry is prepared to support the proposal made by the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, for 48-hour humanitarian ceasefires to bring humanitarian aid to civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo and to observe the first such truce next week, Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced on Thursday.

He said the Defense Ministry was prepared to observe the first such 48-hour "humanitarian pause" as a "pilot project" as early as next week to confirm it was safe to deliver goods to local civilians.

"More precise dates and times will be determined after receiving information about the readiness of the convoys from the UN representatives and receiving confirmation of the security guarantees of their safe travel from our American partners," Konashenkov said.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura last week came out with an idea of introducing 48-hour pauses in combat operations to deliver aid to Aleppo’s beleaguered population. He said three-hour pauses proposed by Russia were not enough.

Moscow and Damascus launched a joint humanitarian operation in Aleppo on June 28. Several corridors were opened for civilians and militants to leave the city and to supply food, medical supplies and essentials to Aleppo. Russia’s General Staff later said that combat operations in Aleppo would be paused each day for three hours to let humanitarian convoys reach the city’s center.

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