I welcome the agreement on a Cessation of Hostilities in Syria, to come into force at midnight (Damascus time) on 27 February 2016. If implemented fully and faithfully, this agreement will be an important step towards reducing the horrendous levels of violence in Syria and bringing about a lasting political settlement.
But it will only succeed if there is a major change of behaviour by the Syrian regime and its backers. Russia, in particular, must honour this agreement by ending its attacks on Syrian civilians and moderate opposition groups, and by using its influence to ensure the Syrian regime does the same. Russia needs to demonstrate its compliance by clearly only targeting Daesh and those recognised as terrorists by the international community. It is now time for action, not words.
I hope that the Cessation of Hostilities, properly implemented, will enable political negotiations to re-start in earnest as soon as possible. These talks must deliver a political transition in Syria, away from Asad, to a government in Damascus that can represent all Syrians.