Russia says international powers to meet on Syria May 17 in Vienna

10th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

Russia's foreign ministry on Tuesday said international powers will meet to discuss the Syria crisis in Vienna on May 17, with recent fighting threatening to derail fledgling peace efforts.

A spokeswoman told AFP that minister Sergei Lavrov "is planning" to take part in the meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) -- which includes 17 key nations -- in the Austrian capital next week.

Moscow -- a key backer of President Bashar al-Assad -- is currently spearheading a diplomatic push to resolve the conflict as co-chair of ISSG alongside the United States.

Washington and Moscow on Monday vowed in a joint statement to "redouble" efforts to end the five-year war in Syria, as regime forces and rebels in the Syrian battleground city of Aleppo agreed to extend a truce for a second time.

A surge in fighting in Aleppo has threatened to kill off a broader February 27 ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and the US that had sparked hope of a political solution to fighting that has killed more than 270,000 people.

Russia pledged in the Monday statement that it "will work with the Syrian authorities to minimise aviation operations over areas that are predominantly inhabited by civilians or parties" to the ceasefire.

Washington meanwhile said it was "committed to intensifying its support and assistance to regional allies to help them prevent the flow of fighters, weapons or financial support to terrorist organisations across their borders".

The ISSG -- made up of 17 countries and organisations including the United Nations, but excluding parties from inside Syria -- began meeting last year and has held a number of meetings as part of the most concerted international peace drive on Syria.


© 2016 AFP

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