The deal reached by top diplomats on Syria here on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference offered a glimpse of hope for an end of hostilities in the country.
However, resolution of the crisis in Syria still hinges on the willingness and determination of key parties to implement what has been agreed on.
At a joint press conference held here at the wee hours of Friday morning, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that top diplomats attending the fourth foreign ministers’ meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) here had reached an agreement.
“… as a result today in Munich we believe we have made progress on both the humanitarian front and the cessation of hostilities front,” said Kerry.
Representatives from 17 countries and international organizations, including Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, were present at the meeting. They agreed to accelerate and expand the delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged areas in Syria.
What is believed to be more important is the agreement to “implement a nationwide cessation of hostilities to begin in a target of one week’s time,” replying to a question at the press conference, Kerry explained that cessation of hostilities was different from cease-fire legally.
While addressing the joint press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov thought it would be a “complicated task” to finally achieve a cease-fire in Syria.
The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, sounded more cautious when commenting on the deal.
In an interview with a German media, he said the deal could be considered as a breakthrough in the sense that it is a commitment, which came with a time frame.
Meanwhile, he admitted that there is no real resolution and the deal offered a best time to test the will of those who committed themselves.
Wang said the deal was a “positive and meaningful progress. China is pleased to see this result.” Meanwhile, he stressed that the agreement as hard-won results at the meeting should be implemented.
“China advocates a strict implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on Syria which was adopted last year, especially the commitment to find a political solution to the Syria issue,” he said.
The press conference was overshadowed by the divided opinions between Kerry and Lavrov on the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Accusing that Assad was violating international law, Kerry said “it is my belief and the belief of the majority of the members of this group that there will not be peace in Syria if Assad is determined to stay there and lead the country.”
Meanwhile, Lavrov insisted only the Syrian people themselves will determine the fate of Syria, as has been clearly said in the UN Security Council resolution. Enditem