The two leaders hailed the steps they've taken in Geneva to bring an end to the war in Syria. However, the two sides still have yet to reach a deal that will secure a nationwide truce.
Following nearly ten hours of talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva, Kerry told reporters that they had "achieved clarity on the path forward" to reimplementing a ceasefire and improving humanitarian access in Syria. In addition, both sides took further steps to improve military cooperation and intelligence sharing.
Kerry and Lavrov held their talks in Geneva on Friday to discuss plans to bring an end to the four-year conflict.
"We have completed the vast majority of technical discussions that were focused on making the cessation of hostilities real," Kerry said.
Still work to be done
The US Secretary said Russian and American diplomats were planning to meet in Geneva in the coming days to continue hashing out a deal that would hopefully lead to a sustained truce.
Still, the failure to reach a deal reflects the chasm that divides Washington and Moscow. While Russia is providing military support to the government of embattled President Bashar al-Assad, the US is supporting rebel groups seeking to bring Assad down. Turkey's recent decision to intervene militarily in Syria also highlights the nature of the conflict as a proxy war between regional powers.
Russia has repeatedly called on the US to separate its "moderate" fighters from the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra front. The US, meanwhile, accuses Russia of deliberately targeting Western-backed fighters.
Nonetheless, both leaders expressed optimism about the possibility of a truce. "I think in the nearest time we will present the fruits of our joint efforts," Lavrov said.
blc/kl (AP, AFP, dpa)