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Kerry and Heads of European Foreign Ministries to hold meeting on Syria and Libya

13 March 2016 15:03
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Kerry and Heads of European Foreign Ministries to hold meeting on Syria and Libya

PARIS. KAZINFORM - US Secretary of State John Kerry will hold consultations in Paris with Heads of Foreign Ministries of the Western European countries on March 13. According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Marc Ayrault, representing the host, the parties will discuss the ways to resolve the crisis in Syria and the increasingly alarming situation in Libya. As expected, the settlement of the situation in Ukraine will also be discussed, TASS informs.

In addition to Kerry and Ayrault the discussion will be attended by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain, Germany, Italy and the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Syrian crisis and Geneva talks
The meeting will take place on the eve of the resumption of the proximity talks on Syria in Geneva. Against this backdrop, US Secretary of State said that the violence in Syria after the cessation of hostilities reduced by 80-90%. "This is very significant and we want that work on reduction continues," Kerry said. However, he had to admit that "many issues remain unresolved," and this causes Washington's concerns.
The participants of the meeting in Paris are going to focus on these issues. "We intend to demand that the US become closely involved in monitoring the ceasefire in Syria," Ayrault said.

In addition, European countries want to make sure that the strikes of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria directed solely against terrorist groups and "not against moderate opposition." "We must remain vigilant," Ayrault said.

In addition to the ceasefire, the parties will also discuss the upcoming parliamentary elections in Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has announced that the elections will be held on April 13. France and other EU countries have made it clear they strongly oppose this initiative. Back in early March, French President Francois Hollande said, "Our common goal is to use truce to promote the political transition. However, the idea of these elections... is controversial. It is absolutely unrealistic."

Islamic revitalization in Libya
The situation in Libya is a growing concern of Western countries. After the start of civil unrest in February 2011 and the ensuing war, which led to the overthrow and death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the country was split into two opposing camps. Two competing governments and two parliaments continue to operate in the conflict-ridden state.

France, like other permanent UN Security Council members supported the early establishment of Libya's national unity government to stabilize the situation. "It is time Libyans take the responsibility," Ayrault said. In this regard, Paris intends to invite the EU partners and the United States to introduce personal sanctions against the Libyan politicians who interfere with the political process. "We can no longer tolerate the situation in Libya, which is a danger to the Libyans, the entire region, threatens Tunisia, as well as Europe," the French Minister said.

Ukrainian dead end
On March 3, Paris hosted a meeting of the Normandy Quartet at the ministerial level. As expected, now Foreign Ministers of France and Germany are going to discuss the results of the meeting with European and American counterparts.
Paris and Berlin are in favor of holding elections in the Donbass region in June this year, Russia also supports it. However, discussions of this point of the Minsk agreements were practically blocked by Kiev. according to Western diplomatic sources. As a result, so far, there is no consensus on the timing of elections was reached.

The West is all the more irritated by Kiev's position. It is no coincidence that Ayrault and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier brought to the attention of the Ukrainian authorities the fact that the security situation "cannot be an excuse" to block the work on implementation of the Minsk agreements by Kiev.

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