Saturday, July 30, 2016


Russia

Kerry, Lavrov Discuss Syria Peace Talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed by telephone UN-brokered Syrian peace talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Lavrov and Kerry agreed to assess the Geneva talks at an international meeting in Munich on February 11, the January 30 statement said.

The talks started on January 29 with a meeting between UN’s Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura and the Syrian government delegation.

On January 30, a delegation from Syria's largest mainstream opposition -- the Saudi-backed Higher Negotiation Committee (HNC) -- also arrived in Geneva, ending a boycott that had threatened to derail the talks.

The HNC has said it wants to discuss humanitarian issues including a stop to Russian and Syrian government bombing before engaging in the peace talks.

Meanwhile, officials from Syria's largest Kurdish group -- the Democratic Union Party (PYD) -- left Geneva on January 30 after being excluded from the negotiations, a Kurdish official said.

The presence of Kurdish representatives has been a divisive issue.

Turkey considers the PYD a terrorist organization and the HNC claims they are too close to the Syrian government.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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