VIENNA:(APS)Oct 23,2015—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced plans for a broad international meeting on Syria during the coming week, stepping up diplomatic efforts to reach a political settlement of the prolonged and bloody conflict there.
According to a VOA report that Kerry spoke to reporters here late Friday after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Officials said the two senior officials were trying to find common ground between Washington and Moscow in their discussions about Syria’s political future.
The two also met with the foreign ministers of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in talks that Kerry described as “constructive” and “productive.” He said they agreed “to consult with all parties and aim to reconvene,” as early as next Friday, in a broader meeting aimed at advancing “the meaningful political process.”
“This is a multilateral, collegiate effort, and there are no self-appointed leaders. We are just trying to explore ideas,” Kerry said, emphasizing that all participants would be equals. “We look forward to expanding to countries that have a great deal of concern about this.”
A meeting location has not been announced.
Earlier, during a joint appearance with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Lavrov told reporters that Russia and Jordan had agreed to coordinate their military actions in Syria, including air campaigns.
The announcements come just ahead of Kerry’s trip to Jordan for consultations with Jordanian officials and also Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Speaking through a translator, Lavrov said, “We think that other states participating in this anti-terrorism fight can join this effort as well.”
The Russian foreign minister said the two countries had agreed to cooperate through “working mechanisms” in Jordan.
Judeh said there had been ongoing consultations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and King Abdullah of Jordan on the situation in Syria.
He said both sides were committed to finding a political solution to end Syria’s “ongoing cycle of violence.”
Kerry and Lavrov also are meeting with representatives from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
“We believe that the Russian interference in Syria is very dangerous because it exacerbates the conflict,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said before Friday’s talks.