French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was expected to push for a UN Security Council resolution for a Syrian ceasefire at talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on Thursday.
France has proposed talks at the UN to obtain a new ceasefire in Syria‘s embattled city of Aleppo. France has also pushed for humanitarian aid access to besieged eastern parts of the city, which have been subject to devastating air raids and artillery shelling.
Ayrault warned, in comments to the lower house of parliament last week, that those who do not support the ceasefire risk being complicit in war crimes.
Russia has come under fire for its continued backing of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and its role in the bombardment of Aleppo.
The northern city is one of Syria’s most populous. Parts of the city are controlled by the government, while others are held by militant groups, including al-Qaeda-linked fighters.
Russia has repeatedly maintained that its airstrikes target extremist groups in the city, while Western governments have accused Russia of jeopardizing the lives of civilians.
Earlier this week, the US suspended its cooperation with Russia on Syria, citing the failure of a ceasefire and Moscow’s inability to end the violence. The US supports some rebel groups seeking to overthrow al-Assad’s regime.
Russia has viewed the ceasefire with scepticism, considering that the proposal in its current form is one-sided, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told state news agency TASS.