Following terrible and tragic weeks and days, it looks as if there could perhaps finally be a small glimpse of hope for the people of Aleppo. Russia’s agreement after days of negotiations to support a 48-hour ceasefire would be an important step forward. Everything must be done now to ensure that this announcement rapidly becomes a real certainty, so that we can quickly get humanitarian aid into the city and provide the people of Aleppo with essential supplies. Above all, it is vital that the hostilities do not intensify before then. As a supporter of the regime, Russia has a major and special responsibility in this respect.
However, it is also apparent that a ceasefire will only be achieved if it is backed by all those who can exert influence on the parties to the conflict in Syria. That also applies to a lasting ceasefire for the whole of Syria, which must continue to be our main objective. The tragedy of Aleppo has made one thing clear: there can only be a political and not a military solution to the conflict in Syria. We expect Russia, too, to play a key role in the efforts to bring this about.