Russia: Lavrov, Kerry reaffirm need to cooperate on Syrian ceasefire

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their meeting on Syria, in Zurich, Switzerland January, 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a phone call on Tuesday, reaffirmed the need for cooperation to ensure the end of hostilities in Syria, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

“The focus (of the call) was on the implementation of the Russian-American initiative for a cessation of hostilities in Syria and the relevant United Nations Security Council decision,” the ministry said on its Facebook page.

“The foreign ministers confirmed the crucial importance of coordination between the two countries, especially in the military sphere, to strengthen the ceasefire, which must be respected by the government forces and armed opposition groups not associated with terrorists,” it said.

Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war, while Washington has backed rebel forces. The United Nations said on Tuesday it would delay the next round of Syria peace talks by two days to March 9 to allow the cessation of hostilities in force since Saturday to take hold.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that United States military officials at the U.S. Reconciliation Centre in Amman, Jordan, were in constant touch on developments in Syria with officials at Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria.

“Virtually every two hours, colleagues from the American Centre in Amman communicate with our officers at the National Centre for Reconciliation at the Hmeymim base,” RIA Novosti news agency cited Konashenkov as saying.

“Professional contact, professional work is up and running.”

Additional reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Mark Heinrich