Russia makes proposals for Syria ceasefire, awaits reaction from US - Lavrov
Russia has made “specific proposals” on a ceasefire in Syria and is waiting for a reaction from the US, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.
“We made proposals on implementing a ceasefire, quite specific ones,” Lavrov said. “We are waiting for a US response before putting them before the International Syria Support Group.”
Lavrov made the statement before meeting his US counterpart John Kerry on the eve of the start of the Munich Security Conference.
Following the meeting, the two diplomats instructed the experts to prepare “specific proposals” to be discussed at the meeting of the support group on Syria, Russia’s FM spokeswoman, Maria Zakharava, told reporters. She added that their talks had focused on how to reach a Syrian ceasefire and the country’s humanitarian situation.
Earlier on Thursday, Moscow said that negotiations about a possible ceasefire were still ongoing and no solution has yet been found.
"The process is very fragile, discussions are under way, one can't speak about unanimity in the process of a Syrian settlement," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a conference call. His statement came in response to a question asking if Moscow had proposed March 1 as a possible date for the start of a ceasefire.
Earlier, AP and Reuters cited anonymous US officials who claimed that Russia has suggested a March 1 ceasefire in Syria.
A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to AP, said that Washington is wary of accepting Moscow’s proposal.
Meanwhile, answering a reporter’s question on the issue, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that he was not aware of Russia’s suggestion of a specific date to establish a ceasefire. He added that for Washington an “immediate ceasefire” is preferable.
"We are ready to discuss the modalities of a ceasefire in Syria," Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters in Moscow. "This is what will be talked about in Munich," he said as cited by TASS.
The Munich Security Conference, which will take place from February 12-14, is due to focus on global security issues, with the war in Syria being a main part of discussions. A series of multilateral and bilateral meetings are expected to take place on the sidelines of the conference. These include a meeting by members of the International Syria Support Group on Thursday to consult on the process of ending the five-year war.
The intra-Syrian indirect talks hosted in Geneva have been suspended until February 25, according to UN envoy Staffan de Mistura. Citing difficulties with certain procedural issues for the break in talks, De Mistura said he remained determined to continue with the negotiations. The announcement came following problems with the list of members of the Saudi-backed opposition.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told RT on Wednesday that some Syrian opposition members backed by Riyadh and Washington had come to Geneva with “non-negotiable” stances, insisting on preconditions for the talks.