The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement announced today by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) Ceasefire Taskforce formed in Munich, on the terms of a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria scheduled to come into effect on 27 February 2016.
Aware of the lengthy and detailed discussions that preceded this announcement, the Secretary-General believes the agreement, if respected, would constitute a significant step forward in the implementation of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). It demonstrates the commitment of the ISSG to exert influence on the warring parties to bring about an immediate reduction in violence as a first step towards a more durable ceasefire. It further contributes to creating an environment conducive for the resumption of political negotiations. Above all, it is a long-awaited signal of hope to the Syrian people that after five years of conflict there may be an end to their suffering in sight.
The Secretary-General strongly urges the parties to abide by the terms of the agreement. Much work now lies ahead to ensure its implementation, and the international community, the ISSG and the Syrian parties must remain steadfast in their resolve.
The Office of the Special Envoy for Syria stands ready to support implementation of the agreement, both on the ground in Damascus and in Geneva. The United Nations further counts on the cooperation of ISSG members as all stakeholders jointly set the implementation mechanism in motion.