John Kerry Meets Vladimir Putin to Discuss Syria

Vladimir Putin with John Kerry
Vladimir Putin with John Kerry

Russian President Vladimir Putin received in the Kremlin US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday. Kerry arrived for a meeting with Putin after his talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Kerry expressed his satisfaction over the Russia-US cooperation, which, according to him, made a difference to the life of people in Syria and to the possibilities of making progress on peace.

Earlier this month, Putin had a telephone conversation with the U.S. President Barack Obama.

The two leaders exchanged assessments of the course of implementing the statement by Russia and the United States, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, on cessation of hostilities in Syria.

The leaders stated that the Russian-US initiative, supported by UN Security Council Resolution 2268, has allowed for a sharp decrease in the scale of bloodshed on Syrian land.

In a separate conversation with Putin, President of Syria Bashar al-Assad said that he is ready to help organise a political settlement in the country as soon as possible.

“Most observers thought it was impossible to achieve a cessation of hostilities, and because of the cooperation, both political and military, which we have been able to achieve with some effort, this Sunday will mark one month of the cessation,” Kerry said in the meeting.

Vladimir Putin and John Kerry in the Meeting
Vladimir Putin and John Kerry in the Meeting

He further said that the people of Syria can now smell the possibilities of a huge reduction in violence and they can hope to receive humanitarian assistance, stating that the two countries will make progress in Geneva to see the transition of regime in Syria.

An estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children – have been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, according to a UNICEF report. This figure includes 306,000 children born as refugees since 2011.

In total, UNICEF estimates that some 8.4 million children – more than 80 per cent of Syria’s child population – are now affected by the conflict, either inside the country or as refugees in neighbouring countries.

Kerry also urged Putin to make faster progress to end the stalemate in Ukraine. Putin hoped that Kerry’s visit will allow the two countries to harmonise their positions on Syria and Ukraine.

About Ukraine, Putin had earlier stressed the need for complete fulfilment of the Minsk Agreements by the Ukrainian authorities.

Photo courtesy: Kremlin

RMN News

Rakesh Raman