European Union foreign ministers came to a common, united position on Syria today, calling on Russia to stop the bombing and create the conditions for a cessation of hostilities, in particular to allow humanitarian aid to reach Aleppo.
High Representative Federica Mogherini, who chaired the discussions at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, said: "We have had a very good discussion with the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. We have decided that the European Union and the UN will work more together to push the humanitarian aid into Aleppo, but also that the European Union will start talks with key actors in the region on the post-conflict phase in Syria."
"I know this seems far away now but we believe - and we have shared with the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura - it could be helpful in this moment to start reflecting on the post-conflict institutional settings for Syria: reconstruction, reconciliation, governance, including local governance."
The High Representative pledged to start these talks in the coming days, as a complementary track that could help and facilitate the other efforts that are ongoing
, under UN auspices, to try and create political space for common ground on the future of Syria.
Mogherini said that priority number one now is to save the people of Aleppo and called on Russia and on the Syrian regime to stop the bombing of Aleppo and to continue talks with the US and other key players on the ground to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in the city.
Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia are among the key partners with whom the EU will urgently hold talks. It will also continue its work with different Syrian opposition groups – including civil society, women, Christian minorities and others.
"We believe we have some positive leverage, some positive agenda that could be built," Mogherini said. "So the news is the European Union is clear, united, with strong positions but also with some concrete steps we have decided to take in the coming days."
The Council adopted conclusions on Syria, strongly condemning the attacks by the regime and its allies, notably Russia, in particular the disproportionate and deliberate targeting of civilians, and humanitarian and health care personnel. In them the EU calls for: