Saudi: Syria ceasefire could be reached within 24 hours

Saudi: Syria ceasefire could be reached within 24 hours
A Syrian ceasefire agreement could be reached within 24 hours, but doubts remain on whether the Syrian government would implement the deal, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Tuesday.
2 min read
07 September, 2016
The Saudi foreign minister expressed doubts on whether Damascus would adhere to a ceasefire [AFP]

A Syrian ceasefire agreement could be reached within 24 hours, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in London, Jubeir said talks between the United States, which backs rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Russia, a staunch supporter of the Damascus regime, were a work in progress.

"There is a possibility of arriving at an understanding in the next 24 hours or so that will test Bashar al-Assad's seriousness to comply," said Jubeir.

However, Jubeir expressed pessimism over the regime’s implementation of any ceasefire deal, given its violation of previous agreements.

The United States on Sunday indicated it was close to a deal with Russia on stemming violence in Syria's brutal civil war, with President Barack Obama saying the two countries were "working around the clock".

However, later in the day a senior US State Department official said: "Russians walked back on some of the areas we thought we were agreed on, so we are going back to capitals to consult."

Turkey on Tuesday said it hoped a ceasefire in Syria could be implemented in time for Eid al-Adha, which falls on September 12, despite the failure of world powers to announce a deal at the G20 summit in China.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, revealed that the Turkish leader had met separately with Russian and US counterparts Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama a second time before leaving the G20 meeting in Hangzhou.

He said Erdogan had told the two leaders that it was essential "as soon as possible to agree a ceasefire or a truce" for Syria's northern Aleppo province.

"We are waiting for a final agreement. We received an outline but we are expecting an agreement on paper that can be implemented," Kalin told NTV television.

Successive rounds of international negotiations have failed to end a five-year conflict that has left close to 500,000 people dead and forced millions to flee, a key contributor to 'migrant' flows into Europe.