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US State Secretary to Visit Russia to Hold Syria Talks


US Secretary John Kerry is expected to visit Russia next week and, hold Syria talks after Moscow started pulling out its troops from the region. Along with a UN-mediate talks on Syria in Geneva, Kerry considers the move the “best opportunity” to end the long-standing conflict in the region.

Kerry said on Tuesday that he would “try to take advantage of this moment” and discuss Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia’s decision to start withdrawing most of its troops from the war-torn Syria has raised hopes around a Syria talk that will be held in Geneva. The talks will aim at ending the five-year-long conflict that has taken the lives of more than 270,000 people.

Kerry is expected to visit Russia after he returns from Cuba.

“As we mark the fifth anniversary of the start of this horrific war, we may face the best opportunity that we’ve had in years to end it,” he said. “I will be travelling next week to Moscow… to discuss how we can effectively move the political process forward and try to take advantage of this moment.”

On Monday, Putin ordered the withdrawal of the main troops from Syria, but decided to maintain some of the air and naval bases in the region, the Yahoo News reported. According to a senior official, Russia would continue its air strikes on “terrorist targets.”

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said he considers the withdrawal a “significant development” that have paved way for extensive Syria talks, after the regime and rebels submitted plans for possible political solutions.

“The announcement by President [Vladimir] Putin on the very day of the beginning of this round of Intra-Syrian Talks in Geneva is a significant development, which we hope will have a positive impact on the progress of the negotiations,” the BBC quoted him as saying.

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