Important to Abide Cessation of Hostilities plan for Syria

The US and Russia have agreed on a plan for nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria. ‘I welcome this urgently needed agreement. This is a long sought after chance that the world community cannot afford to miss. I encourage all parties to work towards implementing the agreement and cooperating in order to achieve a swift improvement in the humanitarian situation in Syria,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The cessation of hostilities is scheduled to start at sunset on Monday, the beginning of the Muslim holiday Id al-Adha. The plan will provide unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance for Syrians in need, including in the city of Aleppo and other besieged areas.

‘It is now extremely important that the international community, and not least the countries in the region, move in the same direction and ensure that the deal is implemented,’ said Mr Brende. ‘If the plan is carried out, it would be an extremely important step towards the swift resumption of political negotiations and a possible resolution to the conflict. I am pleased that the UN’s chief negotiator, Staffan de Mistura, will now prepare the ground for political negotiations. The goal is to put a final stop to this conflict as soon as possible. Norway supports Mr de Mistura in his challenging task.’

The US and Russia have been negotiating since mid-July after the cessation of hostilities from February collapsed. The new deal also includes an agreement that the Assad regime should halt air strikes against some rebel-held areas so that the US and Russia can work together in fighting terrorist groups Isil and the al-Nusra Front.

The war in Syria has entered its sixth year. Out of 23 million inhabitants, 4.8 million have fled the country, 6.1 million are internally displaced and 13.5 million are in need of emergency aid. Norway is among the world’s largest contributors in humanitarian assistance to Syria and its affected neighbouring countries.