Qatar’s Foreign Minister and Russian President Putin hold Syria talks
Qatar’s Foreign Minister met yesterday with Russia’s President and Foreign Minister in what was described as a bid to “unite efforts” to secure a ceasefire in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said he was conveying a message from the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, when he met with Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi yesterday, AFP reported.
According to Russian state news agency TASS, the message from the Emir including proposals for resolving the crisis in Syria.
“We came here today to discuss possible ways to save the political process, to save the civilian population,” AFP reported Al Thani as saying, in comments translated into Russian.
“We all need to unite efforts to bring an end to the crisis and punish the guilty.”
He was speaking as a 48-hour ceasefire in Aleppo entered its second day yesterday, giving residents a brief break from two weeks of hostilities that has killed more than 280 civilians, including children.
Since fighting broke out in Syria in 2011, more than 270,000 people have been killed and millions displaced.
Qatar supports Syrian opposition forces battling the government, while Russia has been flying a bombing campaign to support President Bashar al-Assad.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that both sides were trying to find a solution to the crisis.
“Despite all the nuances in our approaches the main thing that unites us is striving to political resolution, a resolution that will preserve Syria’s territorial unity and sovereignty,” AFP reported Lavrov as telling journalists.
Meanwhile, Qatar condemned air strikes on Syrian refugees in a camp in Idlib province in northern Syria.
At least 28 people were reportedly killed in the attacks, which happened on Thursday.
The UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein called the bombing “despicable” and “murderous.”
He said it could constitute a war crime.