16:35 GMT +320 May 2019
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    US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir shake hands after speaking to the media together at King Salman Regional Air Base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 23, 2016.

    Kerry: Int’l Syria Support Group to Meet Straight After Intra-Syrian Talks

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    The group of 20 regional and world powers that have brokered upcoming talks between the Syrian government and the opposition will meet immediately after the first round of intra-Syrian negotiations, US State Secretary John Kerry said Saturday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – January 25 was initially set as the target day for the first round of intra-Syrian talks, with January 27 later offered as a possible date of the first sit-down. The UN Office in Geneva announced on Friday the much-anticipated talks were likely to be postponed for a few days.

    "We all agreed that immediately after the completion of the first round of the Syria discussions, the International Syria Support Group [ISSG] will convene, and that will be very shortly," Kerry told reporters in Riyadh.

    The ISSG, which includes Russia, set a six-month timeframe to form an interim Syrian government and an 18-month deadline and hold nationwide elections during a November 2015 meeting.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kerry spoke by phone earlier on Saturday, backing the ISSG format chaired by Russia, the United States and the United Nations.

    Both diplomats agree the intra-Syria talks should not be postponed beyond January, despite pressure from various opposition members to stonewall the negotiations.


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