05:05 GMT +324 January 2019
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    State Dept. Urges Russia to Promote Progress in Geneva Peace Talks on Syria

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    The United States is urging Russia to advance the Geneva peace negotiations on the Syrian conflict.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States is urging Russia to advance the Geneva peace negotiations on the Syrian conflict, US Department of State spokesperson John Kirby told reporters during the press briefing following a phone talk between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    "Secretary [Kerry] stressed in his conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov today the need for all international Syrian support group members to push progress on the political track, and encouraged Russia to press the Syrian government to implement critical steps to address the needs of the Syrian people now and to promote progress in peace talks in Geneva," Kirby said on Friday.

    Earlier in the day, the UN announced the intra-Syrian talks had started with a meeting between UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura and the Syrian government delegation headed by the country's ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari.

    Mistura said he expects his talks with the delegation of the Syrian opposition to start as early as January 31, but noted there has been no official confirmation of the opposition attending the talks.

    In December, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on settling the Syrian conflict, which reaffirmed the goals of the Vienna agreements to bring the entire spectrum of political groups in the crisis-torn country to the negotiating table, starting the next round of talks in January 2016.


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