Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated on Friday that conflicting sides in Syria must first of all stop violence and maintain ceasefire to begin resolving the ongoing conflict in the country.
“Practical steps to overcome the crisis must begin with the all-embracing ceasefire, release of all captives and hostages, deliveries of extra humanitarian aid,” Lavrov said speaking at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
These steps, he said, will form conditions for the inter-Syrian dialogue. The conflicting sides must sit at the negotiating table “to work out a compromise concerning the essence and the pace of reformations that will suit all Syrians and provide for safety and rights of all ethnic and religious groups,” he added.
Since it began with demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in March 2011, the Syrian conflict has escalated into a full-scale civil war that has claimed up to 20,000 lives, according to estimates by various Syrian opposition groups.