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Home News Kerry hopeful ‘local ceasefires’ possible ahead of Syria talks

Kerry hopeful ‘local ceasefires’ possible ahead of Syria talks

Published on 15/01/2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he hoped the Syrian regime and rebels would in the next few days agree ceasefires in parts of the battle-scarred country.

Kerry said a “more positive climate” is needed ahead of the so-called Geneva II peace talks in Switzerland on January 22, which aim to resolve the nearly three-year conflict that has claimed 130,000 lives.

Moscow and Washington made a joint call on Monday for ceasefires wherever possible in Syria ahead of the talks.

“My hopes are that in the next days,” ceasefires are reached regardless of the number of places where this can be achieved, Kerry told reporters in Kuwait where he attended a Syria donors’ conference.

The US official said he hoped the visit by Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem to Moscow on Friday will help “secure from (President Bashar) al-Assad’s regime the steps necessary” for such ceasefires.

“We will continue to press for that,” he said, adding that he will be talking to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “in order to see what progress” can be made.

Washington and Moscow are hoping to build momentum ahead of the talks, which seek to revive efforts to hammer out a deal on a transitional government.

The two sides discussed encouraging a ceasefire, “maybe a localised ceasefire beginning with Aleppo,” Kerry said following talks in Paris on Monday.