Putin says Russia and US nearing agreement on Syria

Kerry and Lavrov failed to reach a breakthrough deal on nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria last week

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President Vladimir Putin says Russia and the United States could be close to reaching an agreement on Syria despite differences about how best to resolve the conflict, Bloomberg news agency reported on Friday.

In an interview two days before a G20 meeting in China with US President Barack Obama and other world leaders, Putin said ongoing talks between Moscow and Washington were very difficult but on the right track.

“In my view, we are gradually moving in the right direction,” Putin was quoted as saying in a transcript of the interview released by the Kremlin. “I do not exclude that in the near future we may agree on something and show this agreement to the world community.

“For now, it is too early to say, but it seems to me that we are proceeding, as I already said, in the right direction.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov failed to reach a breakthrough deal on military cooperation and a nationwide cessation of hostilities in Syria last week, but said teams from both sides would try to finalize details in Geneva.

The negotiations between senior US and Russian officials, aimed at securing a broad ceasefire in Syria, are now seen lasting into the weekend as fighting in the country intensifies.

There is also hope of agreeing a weekly 48-hour truce in the divided northern city of Aleppo to allow aid deliveries and medical evacuations.

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