21:18 GMT16 January 2021
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    During his two-day visit two Moscow, United States Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The talks have been productive.

    Both sides agreed measures on a ceasefire in Syria and terms for a political transition in the war-torn country. Those measures have not been made public though.

    According to Kerry, if the agreement is implemented it will dramatically change the situation in Syria.

    Lavrov, in turn, noted that Russia and the US agreed to fight against Daesh and al-Nusra Front.

    The talks lasted for a total of over 12 hours.

    As expected, the Syrian crisis was the main topic of Kerry’s visit to Moscow. However, other issues were also on the agenda, including tensions between Moscow and Washington as well as the conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine.

    "We met and agreed measures to implement. If they are implemented they would help to resolve two important issues, including ending violence and creating conditions for a political transition," Kerry said after his meeting with Lavrov.

    "In contrast with previous meetings when we used to list problems in our relations…this time we have agreed to develop a road map consisting of, maybe small, but practical steps aimed at rectifying a rather unhealthy situation in our bilateral cooperation," Lavrov said at a joint press conference on Friday.

    In order to make this happen, Moscow and Washington will have to do a lot of "homework," the US Secretary of State noted.

    Kerry admitted that there are those who want to undermine the agreements on Syria. He also said that no immediate results should be expected.
    However, he expressed hope that the agreements would seriously change the situation in Syria.

    "We give no promises that our agreements would change everything in a couple of days. Nevertheless, I’m sure that if those agreements are implemented it will be possible to change the situation," Kerry said.

    In turn, Lavrov underscored that the US and Washington will start the implementation in the coming days. According to him, the agreements will help overcome difficulties with separating terrorists from opposition forces.

    "The US should clearly define the location of 'good' opposition forces. It also should separate terrorists from moderate opposition forces," Mikhail Alexandrov, senior analyst at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told the Russian analytical website Svobodnaya Pressa.

    Earlier this week, The Washington Post published the plan of a broad new military partnership in Syria Washington had offered Moscow.

    According to the newspaper, the US proposed to establish the so-called "Joint implementation Group." It would be located near Amman, Jordan.

    The group "should coordinate procedures to permit integrated operations" if the US and Russia decide such operations are in their interests, the article read.

    With this proposal, Washington is pursuing two goals, Sergei Ermakov, senior analyst at the Russia Institute for Strategic Research, said.

    "The US demonstrates that it is engaged in democratic normalization in Syria. So Washington is ready for cooperation. The presidential election is nearing in the US. So the Democrats want to compensate losses in their foreign policy to push Hillary Clinton for presidency," the expert told Svobodnaya Pressa.

    The other goal is to control Moscow’s military actions in Syria, he added.

    "The proposals Kerry brought to Moscow is the best-case scenario. The Americans want to show that they don’t bargain over their own interests but they are ready to cooperate with Russia," Ermakov said.

    After the talks, Sergei Lavrov said that Russia and the US have a common goal in Syria – to establish a long-term ceasefire across the country.

    "We have reaffirmed the goal – to eliminate threats posed by Daesh, al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups, stop the flow of support of terrorism from abroad," he added.

    Furthermore, Kerry and Lavrov reaffirmed that the Syrian crisis can be resolved only politically.

    "Political and diplomatic actions are needed. We need political talks in compliance with the Geneva communique," Kerry said.

    In turn, Lavrov stressed that only the Syrian people can determine the future of Syria.


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    terrorism, military conflict, talks, cooperation, Daesh, Al-Nusra Front, John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov, US, Russia
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