U.S., Saudi push ceasefire ahead of Syria talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir pictured at a previous meeting in January (Photo: AP)

The United States and Saudi Arabia will push for an immediate ceasefire in Syria at international talks later this week, their top diplomats said Monday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir met in Washington to prepare for broader negotiations in Munich in Thursday.

There, the 17-nation International Syria Support Group will debate ways to restart a struggling UN-led effort to get Syria’s warring parties to the table.

Kerry and Jubeir said they hoped the contact group, which includes the Syrian regime’s allies Russia and Iran, would agree to a rapid ceasefire on the ground.

“We have a tremendous stake in trying to resolve the problems in the region before they consume all of us,” Jubeir said, giving brief remarks with Kerry.

Both Kerry and Jubeir cited UN Security Council resolution 2254, which calls for a ceasefire and humanitarian access to besieged Syrian towns.

“And we hope that when we meet in Munich in the next few days, we’ll be in a position where we can make progress on that goal,” Kerry said.

Russia was among the countries which approved UNSC 2254 in December but has continued to bomb opposition positions on behalf of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The continued bombardment of rebel-held towns was among the reasons given by the Saudi-backed opposition coalition for not cooperating with the U.N. peace talks.

U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura is trying to get the Geneva ceasefire talks back on track, but is relying on the ISSG countries to pressure the warring parties.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:57 - GMT 10:57