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Kerry and Lavrov talk Syria in Geneva

August 26, 2016

John Kerry plans to meet with Russia's top diplomat to discuss the ongoing war in Syria. The meeting comes after the US Secretary of State announced a new peace push for war-torn Yemen.

USA Außenminister John Kerry in Saudi Arabien
John Kerry in Saudi Arabia prior to his Geneva tripImage: Reuters/Saudi Press Agency

The US's top diplomat arrived in Geneva on Thursday, where he plans to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday to discuss the future of the war in Syria.

The two leaders are hoping to finalize a deal that will outline military cooperation and intelligence sharing between the US and Russia, which are both engaged militarily in the country, albeit on different sides of the conflict. Moscow backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Washington and its allies are supporting rebel groups seeking to topple the leader.

American and Russian officials have been pushing for an agreement since July. Staffan de Mistura, the UN's special envoy to Syria, said the meeting was necessary to push forward peace negotiations in the country.

Russia has been heavily criticized by Western powers since intervening militarily in Syria back last fall. The US has accused the President Vladimir Putin of purposefully bombing so-called "moderate" rebels in the country. Russia, meanwhile, says the US is essentially supporting radical militants.

New hopes for Yemen

Kerry flew in to Geneva from Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, where he met with King Salman to discuss Yemen's ongoing war.

The Secretary of State announced a new humanitarian aid package for the ravaged country, which has seen an increasingly brutal war drag on for 18 months, leaving some 9,000 dead and 3 million displaced.

Kerry said he and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir agreed on the need to bring an end to the conflict as soon as possible.

Saudi Arabia and its allies, backed by the US, are fighting Iran-alligned Houthi rebels, who seized the capital of Sanaa in 2014.

blc/kl (AP, AFP, Reuters)