Syria talks end in silence


John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov
John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov

Talks between the United States, Russia, and regional stakeholders in the Syrian conflict ended Saturday evening in the Swiss city of Lausanne with no concrete results known.

“We spoke out for the political process to begin as soon as possible,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian media after the talks, adding that the negotiating partners were in favour of continued contact.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to speak Sunday concerning the process and results of the Swiss talks with foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany.

But concerning Saturday’s negotiations to secure some sort of respite including humanitarian aid deliveries to civilians in the beleaguered northern Syrian city of Aleppo, Kerry could only said: “We’re working very hard.”

The fresh round of diplomatic talks began with Lavrov and Kerry holding a 40-minute bilateral meeting, the first since October 3 when the US suspended bilateral talks with Moscow on Syria, accusing the Kremlin of failing to do its part to end the bloodshed.

The US-Russian meeting was quickly followed by the multilateral negotiations that included the foreign ministers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar which support the US-backed rebels in Syria as well as the foreign minister of Iran, which supports the Syria regime.

Also at the negotiating table at the Beau-Rivage Palace hotel in Lausanne were the foreign ministers of Iraq, Egypt and Jordan which also have stakes in Syria’s five-year war.

Russia has maintained that its airstrikes on Aleppo have targeted militant groups, including al-Qaeda-linked fighters, holding parts of the city. However, the US and other Western powers are calling for such airstrikes to end because of civilian casualties.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published Friday by the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda that his military, which is strongly aided by Russia, will conquer Aleppo.

He said that the victory will provide momentum to push militant groups northward toward Turkey, “where they came from.” (dpa/NAN)




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