September 30, 2016 / 10:11 AM / a year ago

Breakdown of U.S.-Russia talks would set back Syria aid - U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) - The collapse of U.S.-Russian peace efforts in Syria would be a setback for United Nations aid operations, Stephen O‘Brien, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, told Reuters on Friday.

U.N. Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien attends an interview with Reuters in Geneva, Switzerland, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

Asked about remarks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday that it was close to suspending talks with Russia on a ceasefire in Syria, O‘Brien said: “Any breakdown is going to set us back.”

He said he hoped major powers on the Security Council would find “common will” to end the carnage and restore a cessation of hostilities, and at a minimum a 48-hour weekly humanitarian pause was needed to reach eastern Aleppo on “U.N. terms”.

O‘Brien said he expected the Syrian government to respond on Friday to the U.N. proposed plan to deliver food and other goods to 960,000 people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas in Syria during October.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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