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Kerry, Lavrov To Discuss Iranian Role In Syria Talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) speaks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are to meet in Paris on January 13 in a bid to decide Iran's role in the effort to end Syria’s civil war.

Their talks come after Kerry said in Paris on January 12 that an upcoming meeting on peace for Syria is a “credibility test” for opposition forces who have threatened to skip the event.

The fractured Syrian National Coalition is considering whether to attend the January 22 meeting in Switzerland after being criticized for not fully representing dozens of opposition groups that are seeking the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Kerry was among envoys from 11 nations in the so-called Friends of Syria group who urged the Western-backed, moderate opposition coalition's President Ahmad al-Jarba to ensure his group attends.

In Lebanon, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on January 12 that Tehran is not seeking an invitation at all costs to the gathering in Switzerland.

Like Russia, Tehran supports Assad's regime. Iranian state media report that Zarif plans to visit Damascus "in the next few days."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP