Kerry, Lavrov hope Syria chemical talks will revive peace conference

GENEVA Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:06am EDT

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) walk with U.N. Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi (C) towards a meeting to discuss the ongoing problems in Syria at the United Nations offices in Geneva, September 13, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) walk with U.N. Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi (C) towards a meeting to discuss the ongoing problems in Syria at the United Nations offices in Geneva, September 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday they hoped that talks on Syria's chemical weapons would help revive an international plan for a "Geneva 2" conference to end the war in Syria.

Kerry, who said the ongoing talks on chemical weapons were "constructive", told a news conference in Geneva that he and Lavrov planned to meet in New York later this month and hoped to agree a date for the Geneva 2 conference then.

Russia and the United States were working hard to find the common ground needed for a negotiated solution to the crisis, but both needed to do some "homework" first, Kerry said, without giving any details.

"We've both agreed to do that homework and meet again in New York around the time of the U.N. General Assembly, around the 28th (of September), in order to see if it is if possible to find a date for that conference, much of which will depend on the capacity to have success here in the next hours, days, on the subject of the chemical weapons."

Lavrov said Russian and U.S. experts needed to engage with the U.N. Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to design a roadmap to resolve the issue as soon as practical.

He said the work on chemical weapons would go on in parallel with preparatory work for the Geneva peace conference. "We agreed to meet in New York on the margins of the General Assembly and see where we are and see what the Syrian parties think about it and do about it, and we hope we would be able to be a bit more specific when we meet with you in New York."

(Reporting by Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Mark Heinrich)

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