Accessibility links

Syria Talks to Go Ahead as Planned

  • VOA News

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee in Washington, Feb. 24, 2016.

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before a House Appropriations subcommittee in Washington, Feb. 24, 2016.

The United States' top diplomat said the U.N.-sponsored peace talks on Syria should go ahead as planned Monday despite what he called "perceived truce violations" by the Syrian government.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Russian and American monitors were meeting in both Geneva and Amman Saturday to try to figure out how to reduce the violence in Syria.

"The level of violence by all accounts has been reduced by 80 to 90 percent, which is very, very significant," Kerry said Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

FILE - Civil defense workers remove dead bodies from under debris after an airstrike on Kafr Hamra village in the northern Aleppo countryside of Syria, Feb. 27, 2016.

FILE - Civil defense workers remove dead bodies from under debris after an airstrike on Kafr Hamra village in the northern Aleppo countryside of Syria, Feb. 27, 2016.

Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said the Syrian government remained committed to the cease-fire agreement, but its delegation to the peace talks would only wait 24 hours for the opposition delegation to arrive for the talks.

Muallem said Saturday in Damascus that the diplomats would leave for Geneva Sunday.

A Syrian opposition official said the foreign minister was "halting Geneva talks before they start."

Syria's main opposition group has said it will attend the peace talks in Geneva

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem speaks during a news conference in Damascus, Syria, March 12, 2016.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem speaks during a news conference in Damascus, Syria, March 12, 2016.

In another development, Muallem said the Syrian government would not talk to anyone who wanted to discuss the presidency. He said U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura has "no right" to discuss the future of the country's presidential elections.

The U.S. State Department said the cease-fire "has produced a dramatic reduction in violence," but warned the regime continues to carry out attacks.

U.N. officials say the cessation of hostilities agreement has made it possible for U.N. and partner agencies to deliver food, medicine and other aid to 115,000 Syrian civilians living in areas under siege by government or opposition forces.

They say aid agencies were unable to access any of these areas last year.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG