European Union External Action

Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini the announcement of a cessation of hostilities in Syria

Bruxelles, 30/12/2016 - 19:24, UNIQUE ID: 161230_5
Statements by the HR/VP

The European Union has been among those calling for a new cessation of hostilities in Syria ever since the last one broke down in September. In this context, the announcement of an agreement for cessation of hostilities on the eve of a New Year is welcome.

What matters first and foremost is that it can be implemented fully and by all the parties to the conflict. Reports of continued air strikes and fighting in Wadi Barada are a matter of concern. But if implemented fully, the cessation can open the way to unhindered and countrywide humanitarian access to those in need.

And, most of all, if successful it can open the way to a renewal of intra-Syrian talks under UN auspices, within the framework set by the UN Security Council.

In this respect, we would welcome any intermediate step facilitated by other international players, such as the announced meeting in Astana, if fully inclusive and aimed at preparing a fruitful and meaningful  resumption of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva under UN auspices.

To this aim, I have spoken today to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and to the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, to coordinate our work for Syria.

The European Union is continuing its work with the regional parties. We will host in Brussels in mid January a round of bilateral talks to find common ground on the post conflict in Syria, and on reconciliation and reconstruction, in full coordination and support of the talks that will be held in Geneva in February.

In addition, the EU will be hosting a conference in Brussels, follow-up to last year's London conference on Syria, in spring. The EU has and will continue to be the biggest humanitarian aid donor in Syria and in the neighbouring countries with over 9 billion euros committed since the start of the crisis.

But our aim and role is not only humanitarian. It is most of all to contribute, in coordination with others, to a negotiated peace for a united and democratic Syria, and to help the Syrian people to rebuild their country once the political conditions are in place. This is also the only way to achieve a decisive defeat of Daesh in Syria.