New Syria peace talks between U.S., Russia set for this weekend

By Doug G. Ware  |  Oct. 12, 2016 at 7:51 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The United States, Russia and other nations appear to be committed to finding a peace plan for Syria.

Officials from Washington and Moscow said Wednesday that a new round of talks, which will include Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, will begin in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday.

This will be the first peace negotiations between the two nations since a cease-fire last month was abandoned after about a week.

The U.S. Department of State said Kerry plans to discuss a "multilateral approach" to ending the Syrian Civil War, now in its sixth year, and brokering a "sustained cessation of violence and the resumption of humanitarian aid deliveries."

The new talks will also possibly include representatives of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, British newspaper The Guardian reported.

Firefighters extinguish flames on part of a humanitarian aid convoy that was attacked in the town of Orum al-Kubra, on the western outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, on Sept. 20. Announcing renewed peace talks on Wednesday, U.S. and Russian officials underscored the need to find a resolution to deliver relief aid to Syrian people and end the five-year civil war. Photo by Omar Haj Kadour/UPI

The latest cease-fire failed after six days when Russian government officials claimed rebels and coalition forces were not abiding by it. Rebels and coalition forces similarly accused Russia and the Syrian regime of breaking the truce.

An agreement to resume talks took many experts by surprise Wednesday, particularly because U.S., Russian and United Nations officials have hinted in recent weeks that the parties involved were nowhere near a resolution.

Difficulties in delivering relief supplies to the contested city of Aleppo, which include an attack on a humanitarian convoy, and reported attacks on civilian targets have simultaneously complicated the peace process and underscored its necessity.

State Department spokesman John Kirby also said Kerry will travel to London as part of the effort to find peace in Syria.

At least 75 people have been killed in the last two days in airstrikes on Aleppo, BBC News reported.

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