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Egypt FM arrives in Switzerland for Syria talks

The parties involved in the Switzerland talks will look at ways to revive a truce between rebels and government forces in Aleppo as well as ways to resume an overall cessation of hostilities in Syria

Ahram Online , Saturday 15 Oct 2016
Sameh Shoukry
Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry
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Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland on Saturday to take part in diplomatic talks on the Syrian civil conflict on an invitation from US Secretary of State John Kerry, Egypt’s state-owned MENA news agency reported.

The talks in Switzerland are the first since a ceasefire failed last month in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where the forces of President Bashar Al-Assad, with aid from Russia, are fighting various rebel groups.

The parties involved in the Switzerland talks – the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Qatar and Egypt – will look at ways to revive a truce between rebels and government forces in Aleppo as well as ways to resume an overall cessation of hostilities in Syria.

Last week, Egypt said it regrets the UN Security Council's failure to take action to save Syria's Aleppo after a French-drafted resolution and a rival Russian proposal to end fighting in the Syrian city failed to pass on 8 October.

Russia vetoed the French-drafted resolution to end airstrikes in Aleppo, while its own rival draft text, which would have merely scaled down military action in the city, was rejected after it failed to get a minimum nine votes in favour.

Britain, France and the United States voted against the Russian measure, which called for a ceasefire but did not explicitly mention a halt in airstrikes.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday that “we looked to the French and Russian draft resolutions and voted for them because both resolutions called for a ceasefire and a truce that would have allowed humanitarian aid for Syrian citizens.”

Reiterating the need for a political solution in Syria, El-Sisi demanded full respect for the Syrian people, the disarming of radical groups and the rebuilding of the Syrian state.

Since the collapse last month of a US-Russia sponsored ceasefire, Aleppo has been suffering from some of the worst violence it has seen in the five-year civil conflict.

Russian and Syrian jet fighters have been pounding rebel positions in the eastern part of Aleppo for weeks, leaving more than 370 people dead – including nearly 70 children – and hospitals destroyed, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as cited by AFP.

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