Progress in Syrian talks

The meeting between several powers that are invloved in the Syrian civil war was said to be partly successfull. The United States and Russia agreed that the war needs to end through a political deal, and that they wanted Syria to remain a unified country with a secular government, the american Foreign Minister John Kerry said.

Like the United States, “Russia wants to see that Daesh and other extremists are eliminated from the scene,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Kerry also said that that he thought the two sides could reach an agreement on what he called “the resolution of the Assad problem”.

Kerry ran through a list of issues regarding Syria on which the United States and Russia agree, and some of those on which they continue to have differences.

The points of agreement include keeping a unified Syria, eliminating the presence of the Islamic State or other extremists and ensuring that Syrians have the right to choose their future leader.

Kerry described Russia’s commitment to the last issue “a possibility of transition.”

But the American secretary of state also said that Russia should play a constructive role in fighting the Islamic State, repeating the criticism of its bombing targets to date.

-Targeting moderate fighters doesn’t hurt Daesh. It makes it easier for Assad to continue brutalizing the Syrian people, it threatens to exacerbate the sectarian tensions that feed extremism, and it encourages more fighters — particularly foreign fighters — to flock to Daesh, he said.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov, in a separate briefing to reporters, also focused on common ground.

-We all want the crisis to be settled on the basis of preserving Syria as a unified, sovereign and secular state in which the rights of all religious groups are respected, he said.

Lavrov dismissed rumors that a political deal was at hand.