U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart resumed discussions on Syria on October 5, despite a U.S. decision earlier this week to suspend direct talks with Moscow on trying to end the conflict.
Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone about Syria, Ukraine, and North Korea. The State Department said the chat was outside the engagement that Washington put on hold just 48 hours earlier due to continued Russian bombardment of the besieged city of Aleppo.
"It would be irresponsible for us, given what's happening in Aleppo, not to touch base with Foreign Minister Lavrov periodically," spokesman Mark Toner said.
Toner said Kerry had also spoken about Syria with the top diplomats from Britain, the European Union, France, Germany, Turkey, and Qatar.
The call with Lavrov "was part of those multilateral efforts now that are going to continue because we recognize they've got to be part of the conversation," Toner said.
He said the suspension of contacts with Russia had to do only with implementing a cease-fire that Kerry and Lavrov had agreed to on September 9 but that quickly broke down.