Russian, US foreign ministers to meet on Syria

Moscow, Oct 21 (IANS) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet in Vienna on Friday to discuss the situation in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The two officials discussed in a telephone conversation the preparations for the planned meeting, which will also be attended by top diplomats of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Xinhua reported.

Kerry said on Monday that he wanted to discuss “real and tangible options that could perhaps reignite a political process and bring about a political transition in Syria”.

The US-led coalition has been making airstrikes against terrorists in Syria and Iraq, which Russia criticized for inefficiency.

Starting on September 30, Russia’s air force launched its own strikes in Syria following a request from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow has repeatedly proposed creating a coalition of all forces interested in securing peace in Syria, but Washington has so far agreed only on technical cooperation with Russia as the US and its allies insist on excluding Assad from the process of political settlement.

On Tuesday, Russia signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States on safe flight operations over Syria.

In the phone talks Lavrov also proposed a ministerial meeting of the Middle East Quartet — the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the US — on Friday to discuss the new clashes between Israel and Palestine.

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