Thursday , February 23 2017

US refuses to say Syria peace effort failed

Washington, Dec 14, 2016 (AFP) -The United States refused to say its diplomatic efforts to end the war in Syria had failed Wednesday, as Secretary of State John Kerry spoke again with his Russian counterpart.
The collapse of a Russian and Turkish-brokered bid to end the siege of a shrinking rebel-held pocket of Aleppo has underlined the disarray in efforts to end the conflict.
But according to the State Department, Kerry intends to soldier on with efforts to convince Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s international backers to force a truce.
To that end, he hit the phones again to talk to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu and Qatar’s Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
A fourth call to the United Nations special envoy for the conflict, Staffan de Mistura, was underway as Kerry’s spokesman John Kirby briefed reporters on the effort.
“In all of these conversations, the secretary has stressed the need to continue to try to stop the bloodshed and the violence through a meaningful ceasefire,” he said.
The desperate residents of eastern Aleppo had hoped on Wednesday that an apparent deal worked out between Ankara and Moscow would allow them to flee to safety.
But the truce never took hold and thousands of cold, wet and hungry civilians and rebel fighters had to take cover again as shelling and air strikes resumed.
Kirby blamed the failure of the planned truce, which Washington had no part in brokering, on Assad’s regime and Iranian-backed pro-government militias.
And he pushed back forcefully against suggestions that the US administration’s years-long outreach to Moscow and Syria’s neighbors had been a failure.
“The failure is on Russia for not putting the proper pressure on the Assad regime to stop the brutality, the gassing, the starvation of their own people,” he said.
“The failure is on the part of the regime and its backers, including Russia and Iran,” he added, accusing Moscow and Tehran of seeking a military solution to the conflict.
“That’s the real failure here and the Syrian people are the ones caught in the crossfire.”
Kirby said President Barack Obama’s administration would continue to push for a diplomatic solution to the conflict until Kerry leaves office on January 20

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