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Syrian FM: ‘Real Chance’ for Political Settlement in Syria

30 December 2016 8:08

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Thursday there was a “real chance” to reach a political settlement of the Syrian conflict, after Damascus’s ally Russia announced a ceasefire deal that was to take effect at midnight (2200GMT).

“It reflects the reality that the situation after Aleppo’s liberation is different to how it was before. So there must be a political investment in the victory in Aleppo. The first step towards this investment is the ceasefire,” Moualem said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a ceasefire between Syrian opposition groups and the government and said the parties were also prepared to start peace talks.

No date has been announced for the talks in Astana, the Kazakh capital.

“There is a real opportunity to reach a political solution for the crisis in Syria that ends the bloodshed and establishes the roots for the future of the country,” he added.

The Syrian army said fighting would halt nationwide, but that Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS), former al-Qaeda militants and groups linked to them were excluded from the deal. Rebels said only Islamic State was excluded.

The close geographical proximity of rebel factions to former al-Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front has complicated previous ceasefire efforts.

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