Russia: Bilateral Syria Safe Zone Agreement Will Continue
July 10, 2017
Russia’s FM Sergey Lavrov says Moscow will continue cooperation with the U.S. on “de-escalation zones” in southern Syria amid Sunday’s enforcement of a regional ceasefire
(WASHINGTON, DC) Russia’s Foreign Minister made these comments to reporters in Moscow on Monday after returning from the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany where the ceasefire was officially agreed upon between the two superpowers.
“Regarding the perspectives of our cooperation with the Americans, it will continue through the implementation of those deals agreed on the de-escalation zone in Syria’s southwest. The memorandum from June 7… assumes the development of additional details that would secure how this zone would work in practice. And despite the ceasefire coming into force on Sunday at 12:00 [local time], this [ceasefire] should be consolidated,” Lavrov said.
A de-escalation zone helps to “disengage” armed opposition from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra Front (now known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) and other groups recognized as terrorists by the UN Security Council.
A monitoring center in the Jordanian capital, Amman, which oversees the truce in Syria, will work directly with the Syrian opposition and government in Damascus, according to the foreign minister.
“We agreed to use a monitoring center established by Russia, the U.S. and Jordan in Amman to coordinate all the details of functioning of these de-escalation zones,” Lavrov said.
Final agreements on de-escalation zones in the areas near Homs and East Ghouta may be reached very soon, Lavrov said, adding that negotiations on Idlib region are still taking place.
The de-escalation zones initiative helps to “normalize relations” between the armed opposition and government forces, according to Lavrov.
The zones create conditions for the parties to “stop fighting each other” and join forces against terrorists, he concluded.
After their meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart, President Donald Trump, announced that a ceasefire deal had been agreed upon for southwest Syria.
The ceasefire applies to the Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda provinces, and came into effect on Sunday.