Syria: Peace Negotiations

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 10th March 2016.

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Photo of Jo Cox Jo Cox Labour, Batley and Spen

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the putting in place of a system of verification for violations during the Cessation of Hostilities in Syria; and when he expects such a system to be in place.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Cessation of Hostilities is an important step towards ending the terrible violence in Syria and bringing about a lasting political settlement.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) met with the HNC Representative, Riyad Hijab in Paris on Friday 4th March to assess the current situation. Since the Cessation of Hostilities came into effect, we have seen a significant reduction in violence, which is of course a huge step forwards. But we need to see this sustained, and to see a reduction in the number of reported violations. To this end we are working with the UN and other members of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), to urgently consolidate a robust verification mechanism to monitor alleged violations of the Cessation of Hostilities. The UK had a number of staff in Geneva last week working on this.

This mechanism is already starting to work through assessments of violations and we will continue to refine the operation as we continue.

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