Lavrov, Kerry Could Meet at G20 if US Separates Terrorists, Opposition in Syria

© Photo : Youtube / SMART News Agency Burnt headquarters of al-Nusra Front in Maarat al-Numa
Burnt headquarters of al-Nusra Front in Maarat al-Numa - Sputnik International
Washington's decision to finally make a distinction between terrorists and opposition in Syria would pave the way toward a meeting between Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry in China, Russia's deputy foreign minister said.

HANGZHOU (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko – A meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US State Secretary John Kerry on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China is possible if the United States officially makes a distinction between terrorists and opposition groups in Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik.

"Participation of State Secretary [John Kerry] and Foreign Minister [Sergei Lavrov] in the G20 events in Hangzhou creates opportunities for their direct bilateral communication. At the moment, we do not have the timing set for such contact, but the main point is not the timing, it is the fact that we are doubtful that our American colleagues are able to overcome what is the main obstacle now for reaching the final agreement on Syria — mainly, the long-standing issue of differentiating between Daesh terrorists and those groupings that the US military structures work with. This is the main obstacle for the resolution of [the] Aleppo situation," Ryabkov said on Saturday.

Russian-US military experts are now meeting in Geneva to discuss differences between Russian and US positions.

"If in the nearest future the US announces that such differentiation has been made, and that this is an official US position, then I do not see any obstacles for the bilateral meeting between our foreign minister and US State Secretary in Hangzhou," Ryabkov told Sputnik.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups. On February 27, a US-Russia brokered ceasefire came into force in Syria. Terrorist groups, which maintain a heavy presence in Aleppo, are not part of the deal.
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