MUNICH:(APS)FEB12,2016—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says major powers meeting in Munich to discuss the situation in war-torn Syria have agreed to a nationwide cessation of hostilities to begin in one week’s time.
Kerry told reporters early Friday in Munich that the cessation of hostilities will not apply to terrorist groups, including Islamic State, al-Nusra and others. He said the 17-nation International Syria Support Group has agreed that a task force co-chaired by the U.S. and Russia will work to “determine the modalities of a long-term reduction in violence.”
The top U.S. diplomat added on a cautionary note that the ISSG meeting has produced commitments on paper, but that the real test will be if all the parties honor their commitments.
The support group also agreed to “accelerate and expand” delivery of humanitarian assistance, starting with key troubled areas and then widening to provide increased humanitarian aid to the entire country.
A United Nations task force will oversee the aid delivery beginning with a meeting in Geneva and reporting on progress weekly.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that the humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening and collective efforts are needed to stop it.