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    Syria Ceasefire to Be Implemented Parallel to Political Process - Lavrov

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    The cessation of hostilities in Syria is not limited by any particular timeframe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, stressing that even though it is not the same as a full-scale ceasefire, it is definitely the first step towards its implementation.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia and the United States reached an agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria on February 22. Last week, it was endorsed by the UN Security Council and came into force on Saturday.

    "The ceasefire regime that was approved by the UN Security Council based on a joint initiative of Russia and the United States has no timeframe," Lavrov said on Thursday, stressing that claims that the ceasefire was enforced for only two weeks are a distortion of reality and that "there are no time limits" for the current ceasefire.

    "It is just the first step towards a full-scale ceasefire. There is a legal difference between a cessation of hostilities and a ceasefire. The latter is a more stable and serious mode," Lavrov explained on Thursday.

    The Russian foreign minister also stressed that there are no preconditions for the cessation of hostilities in Syria and it must be implemented parallel to humanitarian aid deliveries and the political process.

    "There are no links between the cessation of hostilities and the start of talks [in Geneva]. All of these processes must develop parallel to each other," Lavrov said.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting against numerous opposition factions and extremist groups.

    UN-brokered intra-Syria peace talks are set to resume in Geneva on March 9 after having been postponed in early February because of delegates’ inability to reach a compromise on a number of issues.

    The current ceasefire enforced in Syria does not apply to groups designated by the United Nations to be terrorist organizations, such as Islamic State (Daesh) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front), outlawed in a number of countries worldwide including Russia.

    Originally, the Syrian opposition expressed readiness to adhere to the ceasefire for two weeks, according to the opposition's High Negotiations Committee (HNC).


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