The Syrian foreign minister has lashed out at Turkey
and Saudi Arabia
for undermining a truce agreement currently in force in the war-ravaged country.
Walid al-Muallem said on Monday that terrorist groups were breaking the ceasefire in Syria
on the orders of Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
The top Syrian diplomat said in his meeting with United Nations Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura in Damascus that militants are continuing to stage attacks on government positions in a bid to foil forthcoming peace talks.
Muallem said Syria is still committed to dialogue without preconditions, adding that the government will continue its efforts for reaching a political solution in the UN-sponsored talks beginning on April 15.
“Muallem reaffirmed in his meeting with De Mistura the Syrian position on the political solution to the crisis and the commitment to Syrian dialogue under Syrian leadership, without pre-conditions,” the official Syrian news
agency, SANA, said.
UN mediator for Syria Staffan de Mistura talks to the media after his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Damascus, Syria, April 11, 2016. (Reuters Photo)
In a press conference after the meeting, De Mistura said cessation of hostilities in Syria was fragile, noting that the truce needs to be sustained.
“We did raise and discuss the importance of protecting and maintaining and supporting the cessation of hostilities, which is, as you know, fragile but is there,” he said.
The truce agreement, engineered by the United States and Russia, has been in effect in Syria since the end of February.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned on Monday that “any violation is certainly dangerous for the yet unstable and fragile ceasefire” in Syria.
“Russia has consistently been working to minimize and subsequently eliminate any violations, and has been doing it, as you know, together with the United States of America within the framework of existing mechanisms,” he said.
Officials in Russia’s reconciliation center in Syria’s Hmeymim airbase said five cases of truce violations were registered in Syria on Sunday. They said, however, that the ceasefire regime is generally holding in most provinces across Syria.
The truce agreement excludes Daesh and Nusra Front, two major terrorist groups operating in east and north of Syria.
De Mistura added that the upcoming round of negotiations in Geneva on April 13 aimed at ending the country’s five-year war would be “crucially important”.
“The Geneva talks’ next phase are crucially important because we will be focusing in particular on the political transition, on governance and constitutional principles,” he said. “We hope and plan to make them constructive and we plan to make them concrete.”