Russian FM Lavrov, US State Secretary Kerry Discuss Syria

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Russian FM Lavrov, US State Secretary Kerry Discuss Syria
Published 27-10-2013, 12:32
MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s foreign minister and the US secretary of state have discussed collaboration in the preparation for an international conference to settle the Syrian conflict, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry spoke to each other by telephone. The conversation was held on Kerry’s initiative, the ministry said Saturday without providing any further details.

A Syrian government representative recently said the Geneva-2 conference, designed to get Syria’s government and opposition groups to meet for peace talks, will start November 23. However, only the United Nations has the authority to set the date, and major Syrian opposition groups remain reluctant to take part.

According to UN statistics, more than 100,000 people have died in the 2 1/2-year civil war in the Middle Eastern country. The number of refugees caused by the conflict hit 2 million in September, the UN said.

International experts began eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons in early October, in accordance with a US-Russian plan to seize and destroy the arsenal. The plan was approved in September 2013 by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and supported by a UN Security Council resolution.

The plan has so far helped avoid foreign military intervention in Syria. The United States considered a "limited” series of air strikes on Syrian government targets as punishment for a number of chemical attacks that killed civilians. Russia has said there is no definitive evidence as to whether Syria’s ruling regime was responsible for all such chemical attacks.

 

RIA Novosti

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