Trump floats possibility of second Syrian ceasefire

CNN

CNN, by Jeremy Diamond, July 13, 2017:

(CNN) – President Donald Trump signaled Thursday that he is working with Russia to establish a second regional ceasefire in Syria, nearly a week after the US, Russia and Jordan brokered a first ceasefire in southwestern Syria.

Trump said the next ceasefire agreement would cover a “very rough part of Syria,” but offered no additional details on the potential agreement or which countries were involved in the negotiations.

“By having some commutations and dialogue, we are able to have a ceasefire and it is going to go on for a while and frankly, we are working on a second ceasefire in a very rough part of Syria,” Trump said Thursday during a news conference in Paris after fielding a question on the US’ dialogue with Russia.

“And if we get that and a few more, all of the sudden you are going to have no bullets being fired in Syria. And that would be a wonderful thing,” Trump added.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment seeking more details on the potential ceasefire agreement.

Trump’s comments came as the US-Russia brokered ceasefire in southwestern Syria entered its fifth day, a hopeful development in a country where numerous ceasefires have been brokered and quickly fallen apart.

Trump expressed optimism that the ceasefire would continue to hold, noting that the days-old ceasefire had already last a “very long period of time” relative to past ceasefires.

The ceasefire was touted as the first tangible sign of agreement between the US and Russia in Syria, where the two countries support opposing factions. The US has backed moderate anti-government rebels in the country while Russia continues to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Trump’s comments came amid his meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, talks that were set to focus in large part on the conflict in Syria, with the longtime allies aiming to partner to develop a road map for the country’s future.

“We agreed to continue to work together, in particular in order to be able to launch together some diplomatic initiatives in order to put in place a road map for what will come after the war,” Macron said, adding the US and France hope to help establish a “political road map in particular for Syria after the war.”

Macron also touted the need to maintain an open dialogue with Russia to advance peace in Syria.

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