WASHINGTON, January 15. /TASS/. Talks on Syria in Geneva should begin on January 25 without any preconditions, US State Department spokesman John Kirby has said after a phone conversation between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Kerry and Lavrov "agreed that UN-led negotiations between the Syrian parties must move forward as scheduled on January 25 in Geneva and without preconditions," Kirby told reporters.
The sides also agreed that steps must be taken to foster a productive discussion between all the Syrian parties in advance of the meeting.
Kerry also encouraged Russia to "use its influence" with the regime of President Bashar Assad to permit access of the organizations delivering vital humanitarian aid to the Syrian people, particularly in the besieged and hard-to-reach areas.
They agreed to continue this dialogue in Zurich, Switzerland on January 20, Kirby said.
Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday that a considerable part of the meeting in Zurich will be dedicated to issues of Syrian settlement with account for the fact that Russia and the United States are actively involved in the process and are co-chairs of the "Vienna format".
"We are proceeding from the assumption that the topic will be discussed in the most active way," Zakharova said. "We will hope that the meeting will add constructiveness to the general process of Syrian settlement."