UN welcomes US-Russia accord to reinstate Syria ceasefire

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Staffan de Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria speaks to the press on the Intra-Syrian Geneva Talks 2016. 25 January 2016. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The Russian Federation and the United States have agreed to reinstate a ceasefire in war-torn Syria starting next week, the UN special envoy for the country has confirmed.

The United Nations welcomed the move which would allow for the resumption of the intra-Syrian peace talks, Staffan de Mistura said in a statement released late on Friday.

The announcement was made following a high-level meeting betwen US Secretary of State for Defence John Kerry and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

The US-Russia deal grants access to conflict-ravaged areas in urgent need of aid.

The two super powers also promise to work together to defeat Islamist extremist groups Daesh and Al Nusra.

Thirteen million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian support but aid convoys are "routinely blocked".

The need for a humanitarian pause has never been greater, Staffan de Mistura, the special envoy for the country said in an appeal made earlier in the week.

De Mistura said he hoped that the political will that led to the understanding is sustained.

"The United Nations stands ready to deliver and to do whatever it can to support an early restoration of a cessation of hostilities.  It also expects that all parties will facilitate UN efforts to indeed deliver humanitarian assistance to the population in need, including in besieged areas and hard to reach areas according to our plan of September which you heard today."

The accord creates a "real window of opportunity" which all relevant actors in the region and beyond should seize to put the crisis on a different path, he underscored.

A date for the next round of talks has yet to be decided.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’31”

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