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No breakthrough in US, Russia meet on Syria, envoys to hold follow-up talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and other top UN diplomats in Lausanne. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Lausanne, Switzerland Oct 15, 2016, 07.43 PM (IST)

Talks on Syria convened by US Secretary of State John Kerry in the Swiss city of Lausanne ended on Saturday without a solution to ending the violence in the war-ravaged country.

Even though Kerry said that the discussion "was exactly what we wanted," the meeting failed to come up with a joint statement or a concrete solution.

"I would characterize this as an example of what we wanted, which was a brainstorming and a very candid first-time discussion," Kerry told the press at the at the lakeside hotel where he met envoys from Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Qatar.

"A number of ideas came from the number of different ministers as we hoped that might be able to shape some different approaches," he said while also adding that the envoys would contact each other on Monday for follow-up talks.

"The way it wrapped up was to have several ideas that need to be quickly followed up," the US Secretary of State said. "The next contact on trying to follow up on this is going to be immediately, because this is urgent, and we're not letting any grass grow under our feet."

The talks come after the collapse of a ceasefire between US and Russia in September that many saw as the last hope for peace this year.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who had said he had "no special expectations" for Saturday's meeting, said ministers had discussed several "interesting ideas" but he did not elaborate what those ideas were.

On Friday, he had warned that had warned that Russia was not planning to give any new solutions for resolving the conflict. He instead called for implementing previous UN resolutions and specifically for opposition fighters to separate from "terrorist" jihadist groups.

A former Western envoy in Syria had earlier told Reuters, "I don't understand (why) the Americans are asking the Russians to talk again. They have made zero concessions. Do the Americans believe Moscow was shaken by the break-off last week and will change behavior now?"

In Aleppo, Assad's Russian-backed government forces intensified their bombardment of the rebel-held east of the city, further damaging any prospect of a renewed ceasefire, AFP reported.

Turkey-backed Syrian rebel forces advanced towards the northern Syrian town of Dabiq, which has become a rallying cry for the Islamic State group as the scene for an end-of-days battle.

Aleppo has been engulfed by some of the worst violence of the conflict since the collapse of last month's truce deal. More than 370 people, including nearly 70 children, have been killed in regime and Russian bombardment of eastern Aleppo since September 22, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

(WION with inputs from agencies)

 

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