Last updated: 15 January, 2014

Lavrov and Kerry discuss Syria ahead of peace talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke on the telephone Wednesday with his US counterpart John Kerry ahead of next week’s Syria peace talks, with Moscow warning negotiating parties against imposing any conditions unilaterally.

Lavrov and Kerry discussed “the preparations for the international peace conference on Syria and the measures aimed at easing the humanitarian crisis in the country,” the Russian foreign minister’s office said in a statement.

Lavrov “underlined the necessity to strictly respect the agreements obtained during previous multilateral negotiations, without misinterpreting them or imposing unilateral restrictions”.

Negotiators from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and representatives of the opposition are expected to meet on January 22 at the peace conference dubbed Geneva II, which is to be held at the Swiss lakeside city of Montreux.

During their phonecall, Lavrov and Kerry also agreed to hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the peace talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict that has left 126,000 dead since March 2011.

Besides Syria, the two spoke about “the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear dossier” on the eve of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s visit to Moscow, the statement added.

Iran and world powers sealed a landmark deal on November 24 that partly curbs Tehran’s nuclear drive in exchange for some sanctions relief.

The deal is due to come into force on January 20.