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US, Russia resume talks in fresh bid to halt Syrian bloodshed

Russian news agencies on Friday quoted Sergei Lavrov as saying he had no 'special expectations' regarding the latest attempt to resume talks. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Lausanne, Switzerland Oct 15, 2016, 09.39 AM (IST)

Talks to end the Syrian conflict resumed in Switzerland on Saturday since the last meeting failed to strike a deal between Washington and Moscow. 

US secretary of state John Kerry will be meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and other top UN diplomats in Lausanne, AFP reported. 

Russian news agencies on Friday quoted Lavrov as saying he had no "special expectations" regarding the latest attempt to resume talks. 

"When you see the results from the previous efforts, quite frankly I'm a bit sceptical about the next ones," a French diplomatic source told AFP. 

However a senior US official, part of Kerry's entourage told reporters, "I think we need to see what happens in the room to determine whether this is the beginning of a new process that continues in this format or not."

Even as talks resume, Aleppo continues to suffer under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's offence, which the West labelled as "war crimes". 

Humanitarian organisations in the besieged city of Aleppo appealed for a truce on Saturday to establish a temporary ceasefire for at least 72 hours. 

Lavrov also said Russia will call for "concrete steps" to implement the previous resolutions. 

Russia 'playing for time' 

Experts feel that Russia is just buying time to strengthen its position before the US elections. 

Karim Bitar, a researcher at the Institute for International and Strategic Affairs think tank in Paris said, "the Russians are seeking to maximise their advantage before (President Barack) Obama's successor, probably (Hillary) Clinton steps in with a likely firmer approach to Syria."

On Sunday, Kerry will be travelling to London where he will likely meet up with his counterparts from Britain, France and Germany. 

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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