Friday, December 15, 2017
Politics

Kerry, Putin agree to resume Syria negotiations

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State John Kerry agreed during more than three hours of talks Tuesday that negotiations on ending Syria's brutal, protracted civil war will resume Friday in New York.

Kerry said they had managed to find some measure of "common ground," narrowing gaps over military strategy and the mechanics of a political transition to replace the current government in Syria.

"We agreed nobody should be forced to choose between a dictator and being plagued by terrorists," Kerry told reporters in a news conference with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after the meeting with Putin ended.

"We are committed to try to destroy Daesh," he added, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State extremist group.

Despite the warm words smoothing over differences between the United States and Russia, the talks broke little new ground and the two sides remain divided over how a lasting political settlement will be found to the conflict in Syria and what will be the fate of President Bashar Assad.

Both Kerry and Lavrov agreed that the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, a militant group affiliated with al-Qaida, would be included on a list of terrorist organizations that will be barred from the negotiations and will continue to be targeted by airstrikes.

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