Wednesday 20 June 2018

US, Russia reach agreement on Syria ceasefire

HAMBURG (Germany), July 8, 2017

The United States and Russia have struck an agreement on a cease-fire in southwest Syria, crowning President Donald Trump’s first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It is the first US-Russian effort under Trump’s presidency to stem Syria’s six-year civil war, reported Associated Press.
The cease-fire goes into effect from tomorrow (July 8) at noon Damascus time, citing US officials and the Jordanian government, which is also involved in the deal.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who accompanied Trump in his meeting with Putin, said the understanding is designed to reduce violence in an area of Syria near Jordan’s border that is critical to the US ally’s security.
It’s a “very complicated part of the Syrian battlefield,” Tillerson told reporters after the US and Russian leaders met for more than 2 hours on the sidelines of a global summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Of the agreement, he said, “I think this is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria.”
For years, the former Cold War foes have been backing opposing sides in Syria’s war. Moscow has staunchly backed Syrian President Bashar Assad, supporting Syrian forces militarily since 2015, reported AP. 
Washington has backed rebels fighting Assad. Both the US and Russia oppose Daesh militants and say they’re focused on rooting out the extremist group.
Trump ordered some 60 cruise missiles to be fired at a Syrian air base in April after accusing Assad’s forces of a deadly chemical weapons attack. But his top military and national security advisers pointedly said they had no intentions of intervening to oust Assad.
The potential pitfalls for the cease-fire are clear — not least the challenge of enforcing it, said the report.
Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russian military police would monitor the new truce. But Tillerson said that was still being worked out, it stated. 
A senior US State Department official said the two countries were close to a deal on that issue and hoped to finalize it in the coming days, raising the prospect it could take effect Sunday with no clear sense of who is policing it.
That the deal was announced before all the details were ironed out was a clear indication of how eager the US and Russia were to cast their leaders’ first meeting as a success, according to the report.
Officials said the deal had been in the works for weeks or months, but came together in time for the meeting, it stated.
The deal marks a new level of involvement for the Trump administration in trying to resolve Syria’s civil war, th e report added. 

Tags: US | Russia | agreement | Syria ceasefire |

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