Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


World powers to try again for Syria ceasefire

13 October 2016, 10:54

Washington - Moscow and Washington have pledged to try again to negotiate a lasting ceasefire for war-ravaged Syria, committing to multilateral weekend talks in Europe, after the last attempt collapsed amid bitter recriminations.

Syria has been plunged into some of the worst violence of the five-year civil war after a hard-won truce collapsed as government forces backed by Russian air power push a brutal assault on rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

As the West accused Russia of potential war crimes over the bombing campaign, Moscow and Washington froze talks, trading blame for the collapse of the ceasefire they had brokered.

There is now a push to give diplomacy another chance with Washington announcing on Wednesday two days of talks - in Lausanne on Saturday, and in London on Sunday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are expected to be joined in Lausanne by counterparts from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar - all backers of Syrian opposition forces.

Neither side has confirmed an invitation to Iran, a key player in the conflict and an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Then in London, Kerry will likely meet up with his European counterparts - from Britain, France and Germany.

'Unfolding humanitarian catastrophe'

The UN said Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has been invited to take part in the talks but a spokesperson said he did not know if he would attend.

Lavrov told CNN in an interview on Wednesday that he hoped the weekend talks in Switzerland could help "launch a serious dialogue" based on the now-defunct US-Russian pact.

"We would like to have a meeting in this narrow format, to have a businesslike discussion, not another General Assembly-like debate," Lavrov said.

The floor of the General Assembly was the scene of a stormy weekend meeting as Russia vetoed a resolution on a ceasefire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Paris for the vetoed proposal, accusing it of deliberately putting forward a motion that Moscow would reject.

"It was aimed at inflaming the situation and fanning hysteria around Russia," Putin said.

New Zealand on Wednesday presented another draft resolution demanding an end to air attacks in Syria's battleground city of Aleppo - likely to again fan tensions between the West and Russia, who back opposing sides in the suppurating civil war.

Fresh air strikes and artillery fire in Aleppo on Wednesday left at least seven people dead, an international monitor said, a day after Russia was accused of stepping up its raids on the city.

The UN has warned of the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe taking place in Aleppo, saying that the rebel-held territory could be destroyed entirely by the end of the year.

Compromise not blackmail

Despite the continuing exchange of insults, the negotiations had never really stopped behind closed doors, with Kerry and Lavrov speaking by telephone in recent days.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby said on Wednesday that for Kerry, the bilateral talks had been suspended but were "not dead."

Kirby also emphasised the importance of both tracks of talks - with Russia, which has "the most influence on Assad," and with other regional players with "influence on other units."

But hopes remain low for a breakthrough to end the five-year conflict that has claimed some 300 000 lives.

Some have even called for punitive measures against Moscow, though French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault cautioned against "a cycle of sanctions for the sake of sanctions."

Putin on Wednesday warned Western countries against imposing sanctions, stressing that Russia would not let itself be isolated.

"We should not go down the path of pressure and blackmail but search for compromise," Putin said in Moscow.

He also placed blame on the West for the dire situation.

"I am deeply convinced that it is our Western partners, first and foremost of course the United States, who are responsible for the situation," he told France's TF1 television.




Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...