Kerry urges all to abide by Syria cessation of hostilities

 14 Apr 2016 - 0:00

Kerry urges all to abide by Syria cessation of hostilities
“We urge all of the participants on one side or the other, all of the combatants, the regime, others, to adhere to the cessation of hostilities,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in the face of a flare-up in fighting. Reuters

 

 

WASHINGTON: All sides in Syria’s five-year-old civil war should stick to a cessation of hostilities and give United Nations-led peace talks that resumed on Wednesday a chance, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

“We urge all of the participants on one side or the other, all of the combatants, the regime, others, to adhere to the cessation of hostilities,” Kerry told reporters in the face of a flare-up in fighting.

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura opened a new round of peace talks in Geneva on Wednesday, saying that senior officials in Moscow, Damascus, Tehran and Amman, had signaled support for a discussion aiming at a political transition in Syria.

“We strongly urge all of the combatants to give Staffan de Mistura and his team an opportunity to do their work in the next hours and days in Geneva,” Kerry said in Washington while presenting the annual U.S. State Department report on human rights around the world.

Kerry also repeated the Obama administration’s opposition to torture.

“I want to remove even a scintilla of doubt or confusion that has been caused by statements that others have made in recent weeks and months,” Kerry said, without specifying whose statements he was referring to. “The United States is opposed to the use of torture in any form, at any time by any government or non-state actor.”

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has said he would seek to end President Barack Obama’s ban on water boarding - an interrogation technique that simulates drowning denounced by human rights groups contend as illegal under the Geneva Conventions - and to “bring back a hell of a lot worse” if he is elected.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Chris Reese and Fiona Ortiz)

Reuters