AP leaks one of the 5 Syria ceasefire docs, Moscow says always wanted them public
AP news agency has published a leaked document from the Russia-US brokered Syria ceasefire deal, one of five such documents. Moscow says it has always called on Washington to make the ceasefire documents public.
The text leaked by AP represents part of the ceasefire agreement signed between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, John Kerry, on September 9 in Geneva.
EXCLUSIVE: The text of the Syria cease-fire agreement reached by the United States and Russia on Sept. 9, 2016. https://t.co/WhcUypK50c— The Associated Press (@AP) September 22, 2016
Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday that Russia had always called for the documents to be made public.
“We believe that the publishing of these documents will contribute directly to their implementation and the way toward the Syrian settlement," the diplomat went on to say.
Zakharova added, however, that she is surprised that the documents have been leaked instead of publishing them “on the official website of the State Department.”
“But that represents the style of our American colleagues,” she said.
However now, documents about the Syria ceasefire, including the same one released by AP as well as those dated earlier this year, can be found on the website of the US State Department. It was not immediately clear whether the files were uploaded to the website before or after AP published the leaked document.
The document in question includes the details of the initial two-day ceasefire, which came into effect on September 12. Both Russia and the US agreed to use their influence on the western-backed rebels and the Syrian government to stick to the truce.
Humanitarian aid deliveries are also described in detail by the document.
On September 19, the Syrian army declared an end to the cessation of hostilities, citing numerous attacks by the “terrorist groups.” The Syrian government claimed that instead of using the time to allow human aid deliveries, the militants amassed more troops and regrouped reinforcements.
Last Saturday US-led coalition jets bombarded positions of government troops in Syria near the town of Deir ez-Zor, killing at least 83 people, according to the latest government figures. While the US spoke of a “mistake,” Damascus called the incident “blatant aggression."
Another setback for the ceasefire came on September 19 when unknown attackers hit a UN convoy heading to Aleppo. According to the Red Cross, 20 civilians and one aid worker died as a result. It is still not clear who carried out the atrocity.
Speaking to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Lavrov called on the international community to start “an impartial investigation” and said that Moscow had provided all the relevant data it has on the incident.
The ceasefire in Syria and a way to boost the peace process in the country were key issues at the UNSC meeting on Wednesday. While John Kerry said that Russia-US plan was “far from perfect,” he noted that there was no alternative to a peaceful solution in Syria.
Lavrov echoed Kerry’s comments, saying that negotiations should be continued in Geneva to reach a proper deal on Syria. Speaking at the UNSC, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Bashar al-Ja'afari, signaled that his country is ready for talks without any preconditions.
"My country is ready to resume intra-Syrian dialogue with no preconditions and according to decisions and foundations that launched this very dialogue, in order to reach a political solution that is decided by the Syrians," Ja'afari said.