Kerry, Lavrov to meet to discuss Syria ahead of Vienna talks
by Anadolu Agency
WASHINGTON, D.C.Jan 16, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Jan 16, 2016 12:00 am
United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed during a phone call Thursday to meet to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria as well as the situation in Ukraine, U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby said at a press briefing.
Kirby said Kerry expressed "deep concern" about Russian airstrikes that have killed 538, mostly civilians, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Kirby stressed that Kerry encouraged Russia to use its influence with the Syrian regime "to permit the unfettered access of organizations delivering vital humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, particularly in besieged and hard-to-reach places."
Kerry and Lavrov also discussed the upcoming Vienna talks where the United Nations wants to bring together Syria's warring factions in late January. Participants will work within the framework of a plan set out during three rounds of international talks to foster an end to the civil war. "The secretary and the foreign minister agreed that U.N.-led negotiations between the Syrian parties must move forward as scheduled on Jan. 25 in Geneva and without pre-conditions," Kirby said.
Since Russia launched an air campaign that began on Sept. 30, 2015, to support embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, humanitarian facilities have been targeted, according to U.S. officials.
On Ukraine, both diplomats "underscored the importance of full implementation of the Minsk Agreement by all parties, and they agreed to continue this dialogue that they have had and to meet more specifically in Zurich," Kirby said.