Remarks Before His Meeting With French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Quai d'Orsay
Paris, France
May 9, 2016

QUESTION:  Secretary Kerry, what happens to the ceasefire in Aleppo after midnight?


QUESTION:  What happens to the ceasefire in Aleppo after midnight tonight?

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, let me just say that – (inaudible).  Let me just say very quickly that today the Russian Federation and the United States released, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group and shared with all of our colleagues, a document that will reinstate a nationwide cessation of hostilities as well as calls on the full delivery of humanitarian assistance according to the UN Security Council Resolution 2254. 

Now, as I said before when we were in Vienna, these are words on a piece of paper.  They are not actions, but they are a commitment by Russia to, in fact, limit the Syrian regime from its ability to fly in civilian-occupied areas as well as to work with the commanders on the ground in order to try to deliver stability and a reaffirmation of the cessation of hostilities.

So the most we diplomats can do is try and bring the parties together and put together an agreement that asserts the international community’s imperative.  It is going to be up to the commanders on the field and the interested parties, which includes us.  We have a responsibility and we’ve met with Dr. Hijab of the High Negotiating Committee – we have a responsivity to make certain that the opposition lives up to this, and Russia and Iran have a responsibility to make sure that the Assad regime lives up to this.  But after many hours of discussions, the Russians made clear that that’s the route that they’re prepared to go.  But again, the proof will be in the eating of the pudding, not the making, and we’ll have to see what happens.

QUESTION:  Will you participate at the May 30 conference on the Israeli-Palestinian problem here in Paris?

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, it depends on timing and when we do it.  We’re going to talk about that.  It’s one of the things we’ll chat about.  We’re supportive of efforts to try to kick start the process.  We all understand the gravity of the situation in the region, and we’re very much cooperative in all of our efforts to try to make positive things happen.

QUESTION:  Thank you very much.