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People's Daily Online

Russia says to unilaterally monitor Syria truce if gets no response from U.S.

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 20:52, March 21, 2016

MOSCOW, March 21 -- Russiawill unilaterally monitor the cease-fire situations in Syriaas from Tuesday if the United Statesfails to respond to Moscow's proposal on a joint monitoring mechanism, the Russian general staff said Monday.

Russia proposed on Feb. 25 to initiate a joint mechanism with the United States to monitor the implementation of truce in Syria, but Washington has not given any response, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday in a statement.

"In case of the absence of a U.S. response to the proposal, Russia will begin on March 22 unilaterally applying the rules stipulated in the agreement," said Sergey Rudskoi, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Main Operational Directorate.

He added that Russia still stands ready to discuss such a mechanism with U.S. representatives.

"The Russia-U.S. joint work on Syria has been effective in many prospects, despite some fundamental differences between the two sides," said Rudskoi.

The officer also noted that military means could be used only when reliable evidence shows systematic breaches of the truce deal in Syria.

A cessation of hostilities plan under the auspices of the United States and Russia went into effect late February in all Syrian cities. The truce has so far been largely adhered to despite sporadic violations.

Russia began to withdraw the main part of its troops from Syria on Tuesday, after an air campaign of more than five months in the war-torn country at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Russia on Wednesday and Thursday over the Syria crisis.

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