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US-Russia Talks Over Syria  Could “Change the Dynamic”
International

US-Russia Talks Over Syria Could “Change the Dynamic”

Closed-door talks between the United States and Russia on the Syrian conflict were "constructive and productive", US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday in Vienna.
Kerry, who met earlier Friday with foreign ministers from Turkey and Saudi Arabia before talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said the meetings generated ideas that "have a possibility of ultimately changing the dynamic" in the Syrian crisis, DPA reported.
The powers discussing Syrian issues could reconvene as early as October 30, Kerry said, and could include representatives from a larger group of countries from both Europe and the Middle East.
"There are currently no plans to involve Iran in the discussions," US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, said later Friday.
Russia and the United States have been conducting separate bombing campaigns in war-torn Syria: Russia in support of al-Assad and the US in support of militants trying to overthrow the government.
Washington and Moscow signed a memorandum of understanding this week to communicate more closely about military flights in the region to minimize the risks of an accidental clash between their forces.
"Russia and Jordan agreed to coordinate airstrikes and other military actions in Syria," Lavrov said Friday after a meeting with his Jordanian counterpart in Vienna.
It was unclear whether the Russian-Jordanian coordination would follow a similar framework to the US memorandum, or extend to coordinated attacks against Islamic State militants.
Russia has been carrying out airstrikes since last month in Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad.
Putin said Thursday that al-Assad would allow Russia to support Syrian opposition groups as part of the peacemaking process, including supplying aid to moderate militants fighting Islamic State.
Kerry said Thursday in Berlin that Russia and Iran, another close ally of the Syrian government, agreed that a political process was essential to peace.
"One thing stands in the way of being able to rapidly move to implement that, and it's a person called Assad-Bashar al-Assad," Kerry said.

- Full Spectrum of Opposition
Syria's ally Russia says there should be talks between the Syrian government and the "full spectrum" of opposition.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also urged an intensification of efforts to find a political solution to the war.
Lavrov was speaking after meeting his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US.
Speaking at the start of talks in Vienna on Friday, Lavrov said, "Our common position is that we need to boost efforts for the political process in the Syrian settlement.
"This foresees the start of full-scale talks between representatives of the Syrian government and the full spectrum of the Syrian opposition, both domestic and external with the support of outside players."
Lavrov did not define exactly which opposition groups should be included.

- Ceasefire Possible
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s willingness to cooperate with the armed opposition in the country in the anti-terror fight shows that a comprehensive peace agreement is possible in the country, a member of a Syrian opposition party told Sputnik.
"It shows that there is a way for the Syrian Army and the combating opposition to sit around the table like what they currently do in different areas across Syria where they agreed on a ceasefire and to extend these local ceasefire agreements to comprehensive peace," Samir Aita of the Syrian Democratic Forum opposition party told Sputnik on Friday.
The Syrian Army and opposition forces have established several ceasefire regimes in various settlements across the country, but the conflicting sides have broken these truces.
Aside from the militants, the Syrian forces have also been fighting against extremist insurgent groups, including militants from the IS group.

 

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