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Agreement on holding Syrian elections under UN supervision: Russia
October 30, 2015, 6:08 pm

Lavrov and Kerry in an informal chat during a break in talks in Vienna on 30 October 2015 [Image: MFA, Russia]

Lavrov and Kerry in an informal chat during a break in talks in Vienna on 30 October 2015 [Image: MFA, Russia]

The Vienna talks on the Syrian crisis ended on Friday with an agreement to work towards setting up a nationwide ceasefire in Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a joint press conference with his US counterpart John Kerry said the ceasefire is not going to be applicable to Islamic State extremists.

“The participants together with the United Nations will explore modalities for, and implementation of, a nationwide ceasefire to be initiated on a date certain and in parallel with this renewed political process,” said a final joint communiqué on the results of Syria talks in Vienna.

“…the participants invited the U.N. to convene representatives of the Government of Syria and the Syrian opposition for a political process leading to credible, inclusive, non-sectarian governance, followed by a new constitution and elections. These elections must be administered under U.N. supervision,” it added.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Friday that “we agreed to disagree with Lavrov” about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fate.

Kerry noted that there were “tough conversations today but more willingness to continue to talk about practical steps”.

The Obama administration on Friday announced it would send in the first American boots on the ground in Syria in the war against Islamic State fighters.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said the Islamic State’s attempts to gain more territory must be thwarted.

“Russia wants to stop the terrorists from gaining more territory in Syria. We agreed today we want to fight all terrorist organisations listed by the UNSC as well as others not yet listed as such,” said Lavrov.

Participants in the meeting in Vienna, on October 30 were China, Egypt, the EU, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States.

Earlier on October 25th, Lavrov had said Syria needs to prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections.

He had also asserted last Saturday that Moscow is ready to provide backing, in the form of airstrikes, to help Syrian opposition forces, like the Free Syrian Army, who are fighting terror groups like the Islamic State.

“We are ready to back the patriotic opposition, including the so-called Free Syrian Army, with our air support. However, Washington is refusing to inform us of the locations of the terrorists and where the opposition is based,” Lavrov told state broadcaster Rossiya on Saturday.

“The most important thing for us is to find people who will be true representatives of the armed groups who will confront terrorism among other things,” he added.