February 23, 2018 / 10:29 AM / a month ago

U.N. envoy calls for urgent ceasefire in Syria hours before vote

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura renewed his urgent call on Friday for a ceasefire to stop both the “horrific” bombing of besieged eastern Ghouta and indiscriminate mortar shelling on Damascus.

U.N. special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura attends a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files

The ceasefire needs to be followed by immediate, unhindered humanitarian access to eastern Ghouta and evacuation of sick and injured, de Mistura said in a statement read out by U.N. spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci to a Geneva briefing.

The three guarantors of the Astana process - Russia, Iran and Turkey - must meet urgently to re-install the de-escalation zones in Syria, he said, speaking hours before a U.N. Security Council vote on a resolution on a 30-day truce.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Tom Miles

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