A two-day EU summit kicked off on Thursday afternoon, with three main tasks on the agenda, namely how to further address the migration crisis, seeking solutions to trade-related issues and discussing ties with Russia.
The EU leaders “held a strategic policy debate on relations with Russia,” according to a summary document released after the first day’s meeting.
Accusing Russia’s strategy of attempting to weaken the EU, European Council President Donald Tusk told a news conference that the EU and its member states will continue in their efforts to put pressure on Russia.
As to the situation in the war-torn Aleppo, the EU leaders called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and for a resumption of a credible political process under UN auspices.
“Everything should be done to extend the ceasefire, bring in humanitarian aid to the civilian population and create the conditions for opening negotiations on a political transition in Syria,” the document said.
However, the EU warned of the need to consider “all available options” should the situation not improve.
During the summit, EU leaders enjoined the bloc’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini to pursue further diplomatic and humanitarian efforts.
Russia and Syria on Monday announced a humanitarian truce from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time (0600 GMT to 1400 GMT) on Thursday in rebel-held areas of Aleppo, but decided on Wednesday to extend it for another three hours.
The ceasefire is aimed at ensuring the safe exit of civilians via humanitarian corridors and the evacuation of the wounded and sick. Enditem