Secretary Kerry’s Calls With UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and General Coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee Riyad Hijab
April 30, 2016
The following is attributable to Spokesperson John Kirby:
Secretary of State John Kerry called over the past two days UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and the Syrian opposition’s General Coordinator for the High Negotiations Committee, Dr. Riyad Hijab.
The Secretary expressed his deep concern about the deteriorating situation in Aleppo, where the Assad regime continues to escalate the conflict by predominantly targeting innocent civilians and parties to the cessation of hostilities — not Nusra, as the regime falsely claims. Such attacks are direct violations of the cessation and must stop immediately.
In both calls, the Secretary underscored that the initial efforts to reaffirm the cessation of hostilities in Latakia and Eastern Ghouta are not limited to these two areas and that efforts to renew the cessation must and do include Aleppo.
The Secretary made clear that ending the violence in Aleppo and returning ultimately to a durable, nationwide cessation is a top priority. We are working on specific initiatives to de-escalate the increased fighting and defuse tensions and hope to make tangible progress on such initiatives soon.
In the meantime, the Secretary made clear that we urged Russia to take steps to stop regime violations, especially its indiscriminate aerial attacks in Aleppo.
The Secretary further pledged to keep working through the International Syria Support Group to restore the cessation of hostilities nationwide; to end regime obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian relief to all areas in need; and to make concrete progress towards a political transition.
Secretary Kerry will be discussing these efforts during his upcoming meetings in Geneva.