French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel broke away from the extraordinary European Council budget summit in Brussels on Thursday to call Russian President Vladimir Putin to suggest convening a meeting to try to broker a ceasefire, Politico reported.
“The chancellor and the president wanted to alert President Putin about the humanitarian situation of the civilian population in Idlib province in Syria,” according to a press statement issued by Macron’s office.
Macron and Merkel “called for an immediate cessation of hostilities” and asked parties “not to block humanitarian aid access to populations in need,” the Elysée said. But the statement did not explicitly call out Russia for blocking multiple attempts over recent months at the U.N. Security Council to reach an agreement on a ceasefire and humanitarian aid access.
In September 2018, Russia and Turkey brokered a deal in the Russian city of Sochi to create a demilitarized zone in Idlib, but the deal broke down.