Russia rejects Germany’s call for longer ceasefire in Syria’s Aleppo

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, has on Monday rejected his German counterpart’s call for a ceasefire longer than the current three hours daily to allow humanitarian aid into the Syrian city of Aleppo.

He said on Monday in Yekaterinburg (Russia) that even though he partially agreed with his German counterpart, Walter Steinmeier, yet a pause of three hours per day was insufficient.

He, however, stressed that for this to be prolonged, it is necessary to resolve issues in the fight against the terrorists.

The minister said further that as the pause had been a slight improvement of the humanitarian situation, the pause gave the terrorists the opportunity to replenish their numbers by 7,000 people, not to mention a large quantity of guns and munitions.

Steinmeier had called on Russia to lay down its weapons to allow humanitarian aid to reach the embattled city in northern Syria.

“I think the weapons must be silent so that people can be supplied with basic necessities.

“The humanitarian situation in Aleppo is catastrophic. This cannot and must not continue. Three hours a day is not enough,” he said.

Both Steinmeier and Lavrov acknowledged that diplomatic ties between Germany and Russia were currently strained.

“I am convinced that the relationship will stabilise again sooner or later.

Lavrov noted that Russian-German relations are currently going through a difficult period.

He said even though both countries have clashed repeatedly over Russian involvement in Syria and its role in secessionist fighting in eastern Ukraine, yet Germany was a strategically important partner for Russia.

“I think this is the most difficult period since Germany’s reunification, which occurred with an active and decisive role by our country the Soviet Union,” he said.

German Government Spokesman, Steffen Seibert, has described the three-hours-a-day ceasefire like a concession, which is not.

He said it was up to Moscow and the Syrian regime to decide “whether the dying continues in Aleppo”.

Fighting between Syrian government forces and the rebels first broke out in mid-2012 in Aleppo.

After regime forces captured the last rebel supply route into the east last month, the UN warned that food supplies there would last only until mid-August.

Russia, a key ally of the Syrian government, last week announced three-hour humanitarian pauses over three days to allow aid into Aleppo, but the UN said the move was inadequate.

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