Kerry and Lavrov settling ‘technical issues’ on new Syria agreement

GENEVA, Switzerland, Aug. 27 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had to work out “technical issues” before reaching military cooperation to achieve a cessation of hostilities in Syria.

Speaking alongside Lavrov in Geneva, Kerry said that after a “brief oasis of calm” following the launch of the cessation of hostilities in February the situation in Syria “dramatically deteriorated.”

“For a brief moment, a brief instant, life changed in some communities,” he said. “People sat in cafes. People went out and began to try to resume life again, but that was lost. And it was lost because of the lack of accountability and the inability to be able to deal with violations.”

Kerry also said he and Lavrov agree an end to the crisis can not be achieved through a military solution but rather a political solution.

“That is our ultimate goal and that is the only way that this horrendous war can finally come to an end,” Kerry said. “It is really the only viable path towards the peace and security and normalcy that the people of Syria desire and deserve.”

Lavrov said the discussions centered around providing humanitarian assistance to Aleppo but also other parts of Syria as well as Iraq, Yemen and other places left isolated from basic needs due to the fighting.

Kerry declined to announce the resumption of peace talks between the two sides as they continued to disagree regarding what caused the situation on Russia to deteriorate.

“We have a few narrow issues to resolve, and in the next days our experts will be meeting here in Geneva to conclude the remaining technical issues and to move forward in order to take the steps necessary to build the confidence to overcome the deep mistrust that does exist on all sides,” Kerry said.

However, he added the two had achieved “clarity on the path forward” and simply did not want to “make an announcement that is predicated for failure.”


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