Obama backs Syria diplomacy after truce fails
“There’s no ultimate military victory to be won, we’re going to have to pursue the hard work of the diplomacy that aims to stop the violence and deliver aid to those in need,” Obama told the United Nations.
His comments came hours after the Syrian military declared the ceasefire over and 18 UN aid trucks were destroyed as they tried to bring relief to war-ravaged citizens near Aleppo.
Syria and Russia denied striking the convoy, with Moscow suggesting it may have caught fire.
Obama‘s Secretary of State John Kerry insisted hopes for a ceasefire remain alive after meeting his Russian counterpart and key powers with a stake in the civil war.
In brief remarks to reporters as he left a New York hotel after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group, Kerry said talks would reconvene later this week.
“The ceasefire is not dead,” Kerry insisted.
United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura confirmed that there was still hope of reviving the ceasefire, but admitted that delegates agreed it was in danger.
The 23-nation ISSG, chaired by Kerry and his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The talks were brief and, participants said, tense.
“The mood is that nobody wants to give this thing up,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told reporters.
“Quite frankly the Kerry-Lavrov process is the only show in town and we’ve got to get that show back on the road.”
His French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault agreed that the meeting had been tense but argued other countries should now help Moscow and Washington overcome their differences.
“It was a fairly dramatic meeting, the mood was gloomy. Is there hope? I can’t answer that yet, but we should do everything we can,” he said.
“The US-Russian negotiation has reached its limit. There’s a lot left unsaid. The Russians and the Americans can’t do it alone.”
The ministers are in New York for the week to attend the UN General Assembly and officials said they would try to get together again to talk about Syria.
Obama says nations can ‘do more’ to help refugees
Obama called for the international community to step up aid for refugees.
“We have to open our hearts and do more to help refugees who are desperate for a home,” he said in his final address to the UN General Assembly, adding that nations should stand by pledges of increased assistance “even when the politics are hard.”
“We have to imagine what it would be like for our family, for our children. If the unspeakable happened to us,” Obama said. “And we should all understand that ultimately our world will be more secure if we are prepared to help those in need and the nations who are carrying the largest burden with respect to accommodating these refugees.”
Obama said all sides should welcome pledges of assistance that were made at the ongoing UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
‘Urgent’ need to bring Paris climate deal into force
Obama on Tuesday urged the world to bring the Paris climate deal into force as soon as possible, calling on leaders not to leave future generations to fix the problem.
“If we don’t act boldly, the bill that could come due will be mass migrations and cities submerged and nations displaced and food supplies decimated and conflicted born of despair,” Obama said in his final address to the UN General Assembly.
“There must be a sense of urgency about bringing the agreement into force and helping poorer countries leapfrog destructive forms of energy.”