US, Russia 'making progress' on Syria peace conference
US Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement to the press regarding his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (Jacquelyn Martin / AFP)
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US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday said he had made progress with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a joint bid to hold an international peace conference on the Syrian crisis, the BBC reported.
“There are still things that have to be worked out over the course of these next days, but Foreign Minister Lavrov and I felt that this meeting was a very useful meeting, it was constructive and productive,” Kerry told reporters in Brunei, where he is attending an Asian regional security meeting.
“We narrowed down some of the options with respect to the potential of that conference. We both agreed that that conference should happen sooner rather than later,” he said.
The proposed summit, dubbed Geneva 2, is unlikely to take place before the end of August, he added.
The two sides proposed a peace conference in May but their relationship has soured as the military situation on the ground has evolved, with Lebanese and Iranian forces openly supporting the Syrian President.
As the US has reiterated calls for Assad to step down as part of any transitional government, Russia has continued to arm the President and Moscow hasn't ruled out Assad's role in any government.