News: Secretary Kerry’s Call with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

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Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 20, 2016


The following is attributable to Spokesperson John Kirby:

Secretary Kerry spoke by phone today with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to discuss the progress made by two UN task forces meeting in Geneva this week.

The ministers viewed as promising the work of the humanitarian assistance task force, which was able to coordinate the delivery of food, water and medicine to thousands of Syrians in the majority of those areas identified as most in need by the UN. But they also re-committed themselves to ensuring that additional access be forthcoming immediately and that future deliveries be conducted in a sustained and unimpeded manner.

Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov also discussed the progress made by the other task force in developing a draft set of modalities for a cessation of hostilities. Those modalities are not yet fully agreed upon, but both ministers appreciated the scope and attention to detail task force members applied in drafting them. The Secretary ‎expressed his hope that a full cessation of hostilities could be achieved in the shortest timeframe possible.

Secretary Kerry also restated his deep concern over the indiscriminate nature of continued bombing by Russian military aircraft and the lives being lost as a result. The United States continues to call for all sides to abide by international obligations to avoid civilian casualties, and that responsibility lies first and foremost with the Asad regime and its supporters.

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Robert Williams

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