US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that he would “likely” meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to talk about Syria, noting they might reach the end of the ongoing discussions on the war-torn country.
Kerry made the remarks in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday more than one month after he and Lavrov met in Moscow and discussed steps to restore peace in Syria.
“We are indeed engaged currently in ongoing conversations that have been going on now for several weeks and it is my hope that we are reaching the end of those discussions one way or the other,” Kerry told reporters.
“In the next days, our teams will meet, this week, and depending on where those discussions go, it is very possible, even likely, that Foreign Minister Lavrov and I would meet,” he said.
“But that decision has to be made on the basis of where we are in the next couple of days,” he added.
After their last meeting in July, Kerry said that Washington and Moscow were still divided over the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The US insists that Assad must step down before any peace process can yield results, but Russia opposes the idea, arguing that the Syrian president is defending his country against terrorist groups, including Daesh.
On Monday, Kerry said that the two countries could possibly reach an agreement “before the end of the month,” but added, “I can’t tell you whether it’s likely. I wouldn’t express optimism — I would express hope.”
Last month, Kerry said that he was optimistic about the outlook of a US-Russia brokered truce that went into effect in February and helped calm tensions in some parts of the conflict-ridden country.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.