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VOA English Newscast: 1300 UTC February 12, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on Feb. 11, 2016, at the Hilton Hotel join Munich, Ger
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From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Steve Karesh reporting.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday in Munich major powers have agreed to seek a cessation of hostilities in Syria.

“We have agreed to implement a nationwide cessation of hostilities to begin in a target of one’s week time. That is ambitious, but everybody is determined to move as rapidly as possible to try to achieve this. This will apply to any and all parties in Syria with the exception of the terrorist organizations, Daesh and al-Nusra, and any other terrorist organization designated by the (United Nations) Security Council.”

Kerry added that the 17-nation International Syria Support Group has agreed that a task force, co-chaired by the U.S. and Russia, will work towards a long-term reduction in violence.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, has cautioned the world powers about committing their troops. He said "a ground operation draws everyone taking part in it into a war."

The support group also agreed to "accelerate and expand" delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Also in Munich, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is to meet with the head of NATO.

This after the Western military alliance and the U.S. announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War.

Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability.

NATO says the plans are aimed at reassuring eastern European allies concerned about Russian aggression.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir has appointed his rival, rebel leader Riek Machar, as first vice president in a coalition government.

The appointment is part of a peace deal signed by the two leaders last August.

Machar told VOA that this is a good step toward implementing that deal.

This is VOA News.


Words in This New

cessation – n. a stopping or suspension of some action

implement – v. to begin to use or do

ambitious – adj. having a desire to be famous, powerful or successful

determined – v. trying to do or carry out something that is difficult

rapidly – adj. quickly

achieve – v. to get or reach by hard work

apply – v. to cause to have an effect

designated – adj. chosen for a job, but not doing that job yet

task force – n. a group of people who deal with a problem or issue

cautioned – v. warned

committing – v. to promise or require someone to do something

draws in – v. to cause to enter or take part

accelerate – v. to speed up

delivery – n. the act of taking something to a person or place

build-up – n. an increase

stability – n. security

reassuring – v. to make someone feel less concerned or angry

rival – n. opponent

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