Kerry and Putin push for Syria truce, draft constitution ′by August′ | News | DW | 25.03.2016
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Kerry and Putin push for Syria truce, draft constitution 'by August'

The top US diplomat has met with the Russian president in Moscow to discuss ways to end the Syrian conflict. They agreed to aim at having a draft constitution for Syria drawn up by August.

John Kerry said on Thursday that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had reached an understanding on the matter of a political settlement to the Syrian conflict, as world leaders make a renewed push for peace in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

Following their meeting, Kerry hailed the US- and Russia-brokered peace talks currently under way in Geneva, and said the two countries had settled on a new timeframe for a peace agreement.

"We agreed on a target schedule for establishing a framework for a political transition and also a draft constitution, and the target is August," Kerry said during a press conference alongside his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

Assad question remains

Russland Außenminister Sergei Lawrow & US-Außenminister John Kerry

John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov during a press conference

However, Kerry also acknowledged that Russia and the US had yet to find common ground on the matter of embattled Syrian president and Moscow ally Bashar al-Assad, whom Washington wants to see removed. Nonetheless, Kerry still struck a positive tone in his remarks.

"Russia will have to speak for itself as what it's going to choose to do in order to help Mr. Assad make the right decisions," Kerry said.

The two leaders said that Washington and Moscow would push for the Assad regime and opposition figures to hold direct talks.

World on high alert after Brussels

The reenergized push for a peace agreement comes just days after terrorist attacks in Brussels that killed 30 people and injured around 300.

The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terror group, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, remains a target for both Russia and the US. Both Kerry and Lavrov acknowledged IS during their remarks to the press.

Kerry called the attacks "a stark reminder - they are a violent reminder of what we are trying to do."

Lavrov, meanwhile, said: "We have agreed to continue coordinating activity toward fixing the cessation of hostilities regime."

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