Syria ceasefire talks fail again

  • 16/10/2016
John Kerry (Getty)
John Kerry (Getty)

Syria talks convened by US Secretary of State John Kerry in the Swiss city of Lausanne have ended after more than four hours without any joint ministerial statement from the nine countries.

Kerry was seeking a new path to peace after failing to secure a ceasefire in direct talks with Russia amid mounting international outrage over the Russian and Syrian bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

Kerry hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and seven foreign ministers from the region - from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt - weeks after the collapse of a painstakingly crafted US-Russian ceasefire plan that many saw as the last hope for peace this year.

Lavrov, who had said he had "no special expectations" for Saturday's meeting, later told Russian news agencies that the countries had agreed to continue contacts in the near future aimed at ending the Syria crisis.

The parties had discussed several "interesting ideas", he said without elaboration

Europe was not represented at the meeting, held in a luxury hotel on Lake Geneva. But France's Foreign Ministry confirmed that foreign ministers of like-minded nations planned to meet to discuss Syria in London on Sunday.

Since the breakdown of US-Russia cooperation, long the backbone of efforts to end the war in Syria, US officials have worked on a number of ideas, and although no breakthrough was expected, the regional format could be the basis of a new process, the US official said.

It was the first meeting between Kerry and Lavrov since the collapse of a second attempted ceasefire in September.

The US was expected to once again push Russia to agree to a ceasefire in Aleppo, and Russia was seen as insisting on separating moderate opposition groups from those it considers terrorists.