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US, Russia to Push for Extended Humanitarian Access in Syria

© AP Photo / Pavel GolovkinIn this photo taken on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, a car passes on a street in Latakia, Syria. Associated Press spent five days traveling through the port of Latakia in Syria during the ceasefire.
In this photo taken on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, a car passes on a street in Latakia, Syria. Associated Press spent five days traveling through the port of Latakia in Syria during the ceasefire. - Sputnik International
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Russia and the United States have agreed to continue the coordination of actions to consolidate the cessation of hostilities in Syria and to cooperate on ensuring access for humanitarian aid to all regions of Syria.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States and Russia will cooperate on ensuring access for humanitarian aid to all regions of Syria, US Secretary of State John Kerry said at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

"We agreed today that the United States and Russia would push for expanded humanitarian access in order to reach all parts of Syria," Kerry stated on Thursday.

"We agreed that the [Syrian] regime and opposition need to begin releasing detainees and they need to begin as soon as possible, starting with those who are the most vulnerable," Kerry stressed.

Kerry also said that the United States and Russia reached an agreement to bolster the Syrian ceasefire agreement by working to stop the use of indiscriminate weapons in the conflict.

"We agreed today to build on recent gains by making immediate steps to reinforce the cessation of hostilities, including by working to end the use of any indiscriminate weapons," Kerry stated.

Additionally, Russia and the United States agreed to work to "finalize a common understanding for how this cessation can be institutionalized," and work "more effectively," Kerry explained.

Russian servicemen at Hmeimim airbase in Syria - Sputnik International
Syrian Ceasefire Generally Holding Despite Violations
Kerry noted that the ceasefire agreement in Syria, reached with the help of the United States and Russia, has been holding.

"The cessation of hostilities has largely held, not entirely," Kerry stated on Thursday. "The overall level of bombing and of shelling has decreased sharply."

"We agreed today to build on recent gains by taking immediate steps to reinforce the cessation of hostilities, including by working to end the use of any indiscriminate weapons, to halt attempts by either side to seize new territory, and to finalize a common understanding for how this cessation can be institutionalized," Kerry stated.

Russian Foreign Minister Segrei Lavrov also noted that Russia and the United States have agreed to continue the coordination of actions to consolidate the cessation of hostilities in Syria, as well as to prevent violations of the truce.

"Thanks to our cooperation on such a basis it was possible to make serious progress in overcoming the Syrian crisis. Thanks to Russian-American initiative approved by presidents [Vladimir] Putin and [Barack] Obama a mechanism of international support for Syrian reconciliation was formed – the so-called Syria Support Group," Lavrov said at a press conference with Kerry.

Both Moscow and Washington call on all sides of the Syrian crisis to intensify efforts to release prisoners, the top Russian diplomat stressed.

"Today we’ve agreed to build up on the March 14 telephone conversation between the [US and Russian] presidents and to continue coordinating actions in order to secure the cessation of hostilities regime, to curb violations of this regime," Lavrov said.

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