President Dmitry Medvedev (C), Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (2L) and foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko in Moscow
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (C), Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (2L) and Medvedev's foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko (2R) in the Moscow Kremlin on February 21. Russia on Wednesday expressed "serious concern" about the humanitarian situation in Syria and said it backed an International Committee of the Red Cross call for a daily two-hour truce that could provide help to civilians. © Yekaterina Shtukina - AFP/RIA-NOVOSTI/KREMLIN POOL
President Dmitry Medvedev (C), Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (2L) and foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko in Moscow
AFP
Last updated: February 22, 2012

Russia backs Red Cross call for daily Syria truce

Russia on Wednesday expressed "serious concern" about the humanitarian situation in Syria and said it backed an International Committee of the Red Cross call for a daily two-hour truce that could provide help to civilians.

"We are seriously concerned by incoming reports about the difficult humanitarian situation in Syria," said Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

"We actively support the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross" to establish a truce, Lukashevich told a weekly press briefing.

"It is presumed that this pause will be used to provide humanitarian assistance to the nation's population."

The ICRC has been in talks with Syrian authorities and rebels to try to agree a temporary halt to the fighting so it can get access to the worst affected areas.

Lukashevich said Russia had submitted to the UN Security Council a proposal for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send a special envoy to Damascus to negotiate the provision of humanitarian assistance to those who need it most.

Russia has emerged as President Bashar al-Assad's closest international ally and its support for a truce puts pressure on the regime to open the border to foreign supplies.

But Russia has refused to single out Assad for criticism and on Wednesday again called on both his forces and the armed opposition to end the violence.

"We once again urge all Syrian sides to end the violence. This concerns both the official authorities and the opposition, which must disassociate itself from extremists," Lukashevich said.

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