US, Russia agree to reconvene Syrian peace talks

US and Russia have agreed to reconvene the much delayed peace talks on Syria as soon as possible in Geneva, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said.

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2013, 12:03 PM IST

Washington: US and Russia have agreed to reconvene the much delayed peace talks on Syria as soon as possible in Geneva, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said.

"Our opinions are very much the same, and what may we need to convene as soon as possible - Geneva II meeting in accordance with the US-Russian initiative that was formulated on the outcome of John Kerry`s visit to Moscow, July 7th this year," Lavrov told reporters on Friday after the conclusion of the day-long talks with his US counterparts here.

"We agreed that we need to implement the task that was set forth in Lough Erne to make sure that opposition and government forces unite to eradicate terrorism in Syria and force terrorists out of the Syrian republic. For that to happen, political opposition and government need to come to a principal agreement," he said.

"Regarding the transition period that was agreed upon in Geneva communique last year, all of that should be done on the basis of agreement between government and the opposition delegation. That`s what we agreed, that Russian and US experts will meet yet again to discuss specific aspects for the preparation for the next conference. The meeting will be held at the end of this month," Lavrov told reporters speaking through an interpreter.

Later a Senior Administration confirmed the agreement reached with the Russians in this regard.

"On Syria, I think both sides agreed that they remain committed to holding a Geneva 2 conference as early as is practically possible, both stressing the belief that a political settlement is the only way to prevent sort of institutional collapse and further instability in Syria," the official said.

"There was a conversation also about the deteriorating humanitarian situation on the ground, and the ministers agreed that their deputies or their ministry should follow up with discussions on how we can work more together to alleviate what is a growing humanitarian crisis," the official said.

While the US continues to work very closely with the opposition; the Russians continue to work with the Syrian Government.

"The test is not whether the Syrian Government will come to Geneva; it`s whether the Syrian Government will come to Geneva prepared to negotiate the transition of full - the full executive powers to a transitioning governing body, and so I wouldn`t go beyond that," the official said.

PTI

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