Ban welcomes agreement on nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria

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United Nations   –   UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on Monday, welcomed the agreement announced
by the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, and Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, on the terms of a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria.

The cessation of hostilities is scheduled to come into effect on Saturday.

Kerry and Lavrov are co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) Ceasefire Task-force formed in Munich, Germany.

A statement by the UN chief stated that Ban believed the agreement, if respected, would constitute a significant step forward in the implementation of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).

The secretary-general urged the parties to abide by the terms of the agreement, adding that “much work now lies ahead to ensure its implementation, and the international community, the ISSG and the Syrian parties must remain steadfast in their resolve.

“The Office of the Special Envoy for Syria stands ready to support the implementation of the agreement, both on the ground in Damascus and in Geneva.

“The UN further counts on the cooperation of ISSG members as all stakeholders jointly set the implementation mechanism in motion.”

He said that the agreement demonstrated the commitment of the ISSG to exert influence on the warring parties to bring about an immediate reduction in violence as a first step towards a more durable ceasefire.

The UN chief said the agreement further contributed to creating an environment conducive for the resumption of political negotiations.

“Above all, it is a long-awaited signal of hope to the Syrian people that after five years of conflict, there may be an end to their suffering in sight,” he said.(NAN)