EU diplomacy calls for an urgent de-escalation of the Syrian conflict

The EU Foreign Affairs Council at a meeting in Zagreb on 6 March adopted a statement on the crisis in Idlib and the situation at the EU external borders, strongly rejecting Turkey's use of migratory pressure for political purposes, Croatia’s EU Presidency reported.

At the same time the Council acknowledges the increased migratory burden and risks Turkey is facing on its territory and the substantial efforts it has made in hosting 3,7 million migrants and refugees.

The Council reiterates the EU's full solidarity with Greece, which faces an unprecedented situation, as well as with Bulgaria, Cyprus and other member states in their efforts to manage the EU's external borders. "Today we agreed on a statement where we reiterated the urgent need for de-escalation of the conflict. We took note of the outcome of the Russia-Turkey meeting yesterday in Moscow. All parties need to guarantee the protection of civilians and enable the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid by the international community," Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said.

On Idlib, the Council notes that the recent and continuing offensive by the Syrian regime and its backers, including Russia, is creating untold human suffering and has provoked the worst humanitarian crisis since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. The Council therefore calls for an urgent de-escalation of the conflict in Syria in order to avert a slide into international military confrontation, and prevent further suffering.

The Council notes the outcome of the Russia-Turkey meeting on Thursday in Moscow and reiterates, in the strongest possible terms, its call on all parties to keep in place an immediate and a sustainable ceasefire, to guarantee the protection of civilians on the ground and from the air and to enable the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance by the international community.

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