U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is to meet Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris on Monday for talks on Syria's conflict, a senior U.S. State Department official has said.
They will meet “to continue discussions from their meeting just a few weeks ago in Russia, and provide updates as they plan ahead for the international conference on Syria,” the official said in a statement on Friday.
Russia said on Friday the Damascus regime had agreed “in principle” to attend an international peace conference on the Syrian conflict that world powers hope will take place in Geneva in June.
Meanwhile, Syria's main opposition group entered a second day of talks aimed at finding an approach to a joint Russian-U.S. peace push to get all the sides to participate in international talks that have been dubbed “Geneva 2.”
Following the Russian announcement, the opposition urged Assad's government to speak out on whether it will take part in the conference.
The first Geneva meeting, last June, ended in a broad agreement aimed at forming a transition government in Syria and introducing a long-lasting truce.
But the deal was never implemented because of disagreements over what role President Bashar al-Assad's might have in the new government and neither side's decision to lay down their arms.
June's peace conference, which some media reports say has tentatively been scheduled for June 10, aims to put an end to more than two years of bloodshed that has killed more than 90,000 people.
The conference was jointly proposed by Russia, a key backer of Assad, and the United States, which supports the rebels fighting to overthrow him.
Kerry to meet Lavrov for Syria talks in Paris