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Lavrov, Kerry to discuss Syria in NY meet on Sunday
September 27, 2015, 6:35 am

File Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov [Xinhua]

File Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov [Xinhua]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold discussions on Syria with his US counterpart John Kerry on Sunday in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Russian officials said Moscow, based on President Vladimir Putin’s initiative, is seeking parallel efforts to those of the international community to create a wide front to fight terrorism and find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

The Syrian civil war has claimed more than 240,000 lives since March 2011 and driven millions more from their homes.

On Sunday, Lavrov and Kerry will take stock of international efforts to fight the powerful Islamic State militants in Syria as well as Russian-US differences over Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s administration.

After months of trying to sideline Moscow, the US is trying to re-engage Russia in efforts to end the war in Syria as it grapples with the rise of the Islamic State militant group.

The US administration has shown signs of a softening of stance on their earlier demand of an immediate removal of Assad from Damascus.

“Our focus remains on destroying ISIL and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria, which we believe cannot be achieved with the long-term presence of Assad,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said this week.

A senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview on Wednesday that Russia and the United States have reached a “tacit agreement” on ending Syria’s bloody crisis.

“The current US administration wants to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. There is a tacit agreement between the US and Russia to reach this solution,” Bouthaina Shaaban said in an interview with state television late Wednesday.

“The US recognises now that Russia has profound knowledge of this region and a better assessment of the situation,” she said.

On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov will also speak at the UN summit for the post-2015 global development agenda.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia is “ready to actively contribute to effective implementation of development agenda priorities called upon to give an impetus to multisided efforts to achieve progressive economic growth and sustainable development”.

“We will act in line with national priorities and within the framework of relevant international obligations we assumed,” the ministry said, adding that: “Guided by principles of solidarity, our country will continue to make a significant contribution to international development by creating and strengthening economic, intellectual, information, scientific and technical potential of partner countries.”

Lavrov will also meet his BRICS counterparts on Monday and a quartet of international mediators for the Middle East settlement (Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union).

 

TBP and Agencies

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