President Obama spoke today by phone with President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the Kremlin’s request to discuss efforts to establish a nation-wide cessation of hostilities between the Syrian regime and its allies on the one hand and the armed opposition on the other. President Obama welcomed that an understanding was reached between the United States, Russia, as well as other partners in the International Syria Support Group on the terms and modalities for such a cessation of hostilities. President Obama emphasized that the priority now was to ensure positive responses by the Syrian regime and armed opposition as well as faithful implementation by all parties in order to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people, galvanize UN-led political process, and focus on defeating ISIL.
President Obama also emphasized the importance of the fulfilment by combined Russian-separatist forces in eastern Ukraine of their obligations under the Minsk agreements, particularly honoring the cease-fire and permitting the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) full access to the conflict area including the international border. The President underscored the importance of quickly reaching agreement on modalities for holding free and fair elections in eastern Ukraine that meet OSCE standards.