Russia, US to talk on rebel withdrawal from Aleppo: Moscow

Rome, Dec 5 (IANS) A proposal made by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Russia about the divided Syrian city of Aleppo details the procedure for withdrawal of rebel forces, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed on Monday, adding that the two countries will discuss the issue in the coming days.

“During the Russian-American consultations concrete routes and timing of the withdrawal of all militants from eastern Aleppo will be discussed. Once we reach an agreement, a ceasefire will be put in place,” Lavrov was cited by RT online as saying.

The Russian Foreign Minister added that any armed group that refuses to leave Aleppo will be treated by Russia as terrorists, adding that Moscow will support the Syrian Army’s operations against them.

The proposal by Kerry was handed over on Saturday, after he and Lavrov met in Rome. Negotiations on the plan are expected to begin on Tuesday morning, Lavrov said on Monday. He added that the beginning of the talks had been postponed by a few days at Washington’s request.

Lavrov also told journalists Monday that Russia would not support a draft resolution imposing a new ceasefire in Aleppo.

“Taking into consideration the outcome of the previous pauses [in the conflict], there is absolutely no doubt that the 10-day ceasefire which backers of the draft resolution generously want to provide the militants with would surely be used for regrouping and rearming the extremists and would slow down the liberation of eastern Aleppo from them,” he said.

–IANS

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