European leaders discuss Syria cessation deal

Leaders of Russia, France, Germany, Italy and UK hold teleconference to discuss ongoing cessation deal in Syria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French President Francois Hollande (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive to attend a joint news conference after a meeting to discuss EU summit with Turkey on refugees at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 4, 2016.

The leaders of Russia, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom held a teleconference call on Friday to discuss the ongoing Syria cessation deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande held a press conference on Friday after the teleconference and Merkel said that Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated commitment to stopping attacks except for the ones “on DAESH and Al Nusra Front.”

After Merkel’s comment Hollande added that the "Syrian ceasefire must be respected everywhere and that the only actions which should be tolerated are those directed against ISIL [DAESH] and al Nusra (Front)."

The Russian Kremlin stated the same point as Merkel and Hollande except that it added “and other terrorist group," alongside DAESH and al Nusra Front. 

The Kremlin also stated that Russia believes the decision by the Syrian regime to hold a parliamentary election in April “will not hamper steps towards building a peace process."

US and Russia agreed on a draft on February 22, to call for a cessation of hostilities in Syria that began on February 27, which excluded DAESH terrorists and Al Qaeda linked Nusra Front.

On the other hand, opposition in Syria said on Friday that the regime was mobilising forces despite the deal.

The opposition says that there could be no cessation deal while attacks continue.

On March 2, Syrian Network for Human Rights reported 44 breaches of cessation of hostilities in Syria.

The opposition has yet to say whether it will attend peace talks planned for March 9 in Geneva. Opposition coordinator Riad Hijab said the conditions for talks were "not favourable" but it was too early to say whether they would happen or not.

"We believe that the current conditions are not favourable for these negotiations, no aid has entered the besieged areas and detainees have not been released," Hijab said.

TRTWorld and agencies