Call for ceasefire ahead of Syria talks

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Lakhdar Brahimi (right ) with John Kerry (centre ) and Sergei Lavrov. Photo by Jean-Marc

The warring parties in Syria have been urged to call a ceasefire ahead of key peace talks that are due to take place next week in Montreux, Switzerland.

The call came from the UN and Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, who met with US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov in Paris on Monday.

Syria is entering the third year of a civil war in which over one hundred thousand people have been killed and millions displaced.

Mr Brahimi said there were a number of measures both the government and opposition rebels could take before the talks.

"The Secretary-General has been calling for some humanitarian, unilateral actions to be taken by the government in particular but also the opposition concerning prison exchange, humanitarian access and also ceasefire as wide as possible, but even local ceasefires would be welcome."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the presence of Saudi Arabia and Iran was necessary if the talks are to succeed.

The United Nations is also facilitating direct negotiations between the Syrian authorities and opposition groups in Geneva later in the month.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’19″

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