Erdoğan and Putin hold phone call as Kerry meets Lavrov

John Kerry meets his Russian counterpart as world powers try to find a solution to the complex Syrian conflict that has resulted in unprecedented human suffering.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A file photo of a previous engagement between Kerry and Lavrov on Syria.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov today (Friday) in Geneva to discuss a possible Syrian ceasefire deal.

Meeting's announcement was made by the US State Department on Thursday, only an hour after it had initially ruled out possibility of two officials meeting each other in the Swiss city.

What led to the sudden about-face remains unclear but Kerry and Lavrov have spoken four times in two days to try to reach an understanding on how to stop the violence in Syria.

They have also discussed ways to open up humanitarian delivery routes into cities such Aleppo, which has been under a siege of the Syrian regime.

"Their discussion follows recent conversations on Syria and will focus on reducing violence, expanding humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people, and moving towards a political solution needed to end the civil war," said a State Department spokesman.

Lavrov is already in Geneva where he met the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, who has the diplomatic task of trying to end the five year war.

The United States and Russia have backed opposite sides in Syria's civil war, which shows little sign of ending years of violence in which half the pre-war population has been uprooted.

Moscow supports Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad, whom Washington believes must eventually go.

On Thursday, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also spoke to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over phone on the importance of finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, governments of both the countries said in separate statements.

Russian President Vladimir Putin talks to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan as leaders pose for a group picture during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou. Source: Reuters

"Erdoğan stressed the importance of achieving a cease-fire as soon as possible in the northern city of Aleppo, a rebel-held city under a devastating siege," Anadolu Agency said.

The Turkish President had earlier told a gathering of regional governors that no solution to the Syrian issue was possible without Turkey's consent. 

TRTWorld and agencies