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Syria: what is at stake as Kerry meets Lavrov?

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Syria: what is at stake as Kerry meets Lavrov?

  • US Secretary of State in Moscow
  • John Kerry to meet counterpart Sergey Lavrov and President Putin
  • Syria on the agenda, primarily the role of President Assad.
  • Stability in eastern Ukraine also likely to feature

The US Secretary of State is meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister in Moscow on Tuesday morning.

This is an opportunity for John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov to mend their differences over Syria.

It comes ahead of international talks pencilled in for later this week, although no one is sure they will go ahead.

Who is involved?

The US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow for high-level talks with his Russian counterpart aimed to mend any differences in the approach to the political process aimed at ending the conflict in Syria.

He is having discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He is also scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Follow John Kerry’s recent diplomatic travels here

Find out more about US Secretary of State John Kerry here

Find out more about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov here

What are they going to talk about?

The conflict in Syria generally and the role of the country’s President Bashar al-Assad specifically.

Moscow and Washington do not agree on what, if any, role President Assad should play in the process to resolve the conflict in his country.

Washington insists he must stand down.

Russia says only the Syrian people themselves can decide this. Regime change must not be the goal of any international action.


Plans are afoot for more international talks later this week about the situation in Syria.

It is not clear yet whether the meeting will take place.

Moscow has said certain “preconditions” will have to be met beforehand. The US State Department has denied this.

Negotiations between the Syrian government and the opposition have been tentatively scheduled for January next year.

Is anything else on the table?

Mr Kerry may use the opportunity to bring up continuing efforts to restore and maintain stability in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine.

Claim and counter-claim in Syria?

Moscow says it is targeting known positions of ISIL fighters with air strikes.

A US-led coaltion, meanwhile, has been targeting ISIL fighters since September 2014.

Washington has accused Moscow of bombing moderate rebels in support of its ally, President Assad. Moscow has denied this.

Washington does not consult Damascus about its military action in Syria.

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