I welcome the agreement that the US and Russia have reached to restore the Cessation of Hostilities and humanitarian access in Syria. I pay tribute to the tireless work of Secretary Kerry in bringing us to this point.
For years we have seen the indiscriminate targeting by the Asad regime of civilians and moderate groups, and heard only broken promises leading to sieges and starvation.
I call on all parties to the Syria conflict and all countries with influence upon them to do what is needed to end violence and lift sieges. In particular, it’s vital that the regime in Damascus now delivers on its obligations, and I call on Russia to use all its influence to ensure this happens. They will be judged by their actions alone.
I hope this agreement will begin to unlock the flow of desperately-needed aid to Syria’s people, particularly in and around Aleppo, and that it will create the necessary space for a credible political process based on the Geneva Communique. It is only through a political transition that Syria will rid itself of the twin scourges of Asad and terrorism, and give the country and its people the chance of a peaceful future.
The Syrian Opposition High Negotiations Committee set out in London this week a clear and detailed plan for securing that transition; the Asad regime must now respond with convincing ideas of its own, not bombing, shelling and sieges.