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Lavrov, Kerry round up 12-hours-long talks in Geneva

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have rounded up the talks on Syria, which they have been holding in Geneva for more than 12 hours.

Coordination of Moscow and Washington's efforts in fighting with terrorists in Syria was the main issue on the agenda.

Talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that lasted more than 12 hours were dominated by discussions of the situation in Syria and Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a news briefing here upon their completion.

He said he was thankful to Lavrov for speding the whole day at the table of negotiations, adding that the talks had been long but constructive.


Just a few issues remain to be resolved on Syria and experts will continue working on them next week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"Just a few issue that requiring detailing are left," he said. "Experts will continue working on them next week here in Geneva.".

Russia and the United States have practically agreed on all steps to ensure the humanitarian access to the citizens of Syria, especially in Aleppo, Russian Foreign Minister said.

"We discussed the concrete steps and we practically reached an agreement on these steps. But we have to put several dots to ensure humanitarian access to the needy citizens of Syria, including those in Aleppo," Lavrov stressed.

The task to coordinate airstrikes on terrorists in Syria remains one of the key unsolved issues in the Russian-U.S. talks, Lavrov said.

"The task is not to prevent these or those participants of the conflict from flying but to make those who fly bomb terrorists," Lavrov said. "We have yet not arranged coordination in that issue with American partners, with the coalition led by the United States. But this is one of the tasks we have been addressing."

"As regards whose Air Force is doing what, we are not talking about someone stopping flying, we are talking about the necessity for aircraft in the Syrian skies to effectively fight ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorist organizations banned in Russia]," he said. "We also talked about that, first of all in Moscow."

"We have reached specific understandings," Lavrov said. "These understandings will be implemented after technical details that still remain are agreed, and this entire scheme we can't yet make public comes into operation.".

Separation of the opposition from terrorists

There can be no full-fledged ceasefire in Syria without separation of the opposition from terrorists, Lavrov said.

"I don't see any possibility of assuring a really durable, full-fledged ceasefire without the separation of healthy opposition forces from terrorists," he said. "The understanding of this task between us and our American partners gets increasingly clearer.".

UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura told a meeting in Geneva on Friday about his vision on resumption of the inter-Syrian talks, Russian Foreign Minister said.

"We met Staffan de Mistura. He has interesting ideas on how the United Nations should be used for the solution of humanitarian problems. He has plans to resume and in fact start a political dialogue," Lavrov stressed.

Russia is calling for an earliest possible convocation of a new round of pan-Syrian negotiations, Lavrov said.

"We believe this task is overripe and the convocation of a new round of negotiations between the (Syrian) government and the entire spectrum of opposition forces should be announced very shortly," he said.

Russia handed information on the groupings making up Jabhat al-Nousra terrorist organization to the U.S. on Friday, Lavrov said.

"We familiarized them (U.S. counterparts TASS) with the layout, with our vision of what smaller groupings constitute this organization," he said. "We hope our counterparts will scrutinize the information and it'll help them.".


Kurds should have full participation in the political process to solve the Syrian problem while remaining part of a united state, Sergey Lavrov.

"We, with our American colleagues, have confirmed the necessity of an urgent resumption, start of the political process involving all Syrian sides," Lavrov said.

"As for various aspects of Turkish presence on the Syrian territory, including the Kurdish factor which is so much written about these days, our U.S. counterparts and we confirmed the importance of an emergency resumption and start of a political process where all the Syrian parties should participate," Lavrov said.

"I'm convinced the Kurds should have a full-fledged representation in that process, should remain an integral part of the Syrian state and be part of a solution to the problem rather than a factor that someone will be using to split Syria, as the latter will trigger a chain reaction throughout the region while no one is interested in it," he said.

Operation in Darayya

The military operation in Darayya, a southwestern suburb of Damascus has ended successfully and one can expect similar operations in other parts of Syria in the future, Lavrov said.

"As for Darayya, to my knowledge the operation to evacuate from there everyone who wanted this evacuation is over," he said.

Lavrov said the operation was conducted on the basis of agreements between the Syrian government and armed formations in Darayya.

"This first of all relates to armed groups. Those who wanted were taken by bus to Idlib with weapons. Those who wanted to act differently left that place and will be integrated to normal civil life," he said.

"That's an example that I think will enjoy high demand," Lavrov said.

"At any rate, our representatives at Hmeymim got the reports today that one more region of Syria is interested in an operation of this kind with Russia's assistance," Lavrov said.

Only Russian, Iranian contingents staying in Syria upon consent from Damascus

A number of countries have members of their armed forces on the ground in Syria but only Russia and Iran have their contingents there upon consent from Damascus, Russian Foreign Minister said.

"Many countries are represented by their military and army elements on the ground in Syria, but only the Russian and Iranian contingents are staying there upon consent from Damascus," he said. "Such is the reality."

Lavrov said the Syrian government "is displaying a very balanced, pragmatic approach." "You certainly heard statements from Damascus that they are ready to cooperate with all who wants to fight terrorism, and it's necessary to agree on how to best do that. I think this is a correct approach," he said.

"I think that gradually all who have their own special forces or other armed forces units on the ground in Syria, will have to realize: it's time to choose priorities. And choosing priorities, I am convinced, they will not be able to disregard the problem of terrorism - ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorist organizations banned in Russia]," Lavrov said.

"If someone at first planned to use the forces to weaken the regime of [Syrian President Bashar Assad], now everyone understands that this should not be done," he said.

"It was like that in Afghanistan, in Iraq, when such attempts were made. It was like that in Libya, and now it has consequences well outside the Libyan state," Lavrov said. "And the Libyan state is extremely weak."

"It seems to me pragmatism and the task to be guided by core national interests of all countries without exception will help us finally focus on the fight against the common enemy," he said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Geneva, 27Aug16]

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Syria War
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