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Kerry heads to Geneva for Syria talks with Russian FM

Associated Press Associated Press 8/09/2016

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Geneva for yet another meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to try to forge a nationwide truce in Syria, improve humanitarian aid deliveries and restart peace talks.

The State Department said Kerry was departing Thursday to see Lavrov on Friday. On Wednesday, the Russian foreign ministry had announced the pair would meet Thursday and Friday, but the State Department never confirmed two days of talks.

Since Aug. 26, Kerry and Lavrov have met three times to discuss Syria — once in Geneva and twice in Hangzhou, China. The State Department said they have spoken by phone four times in the past two days: three times Wednesday and once Thursday.

Lavrov briefly met with the U.N. special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, at a lakefront hotel in Geneva on Thursday night. No details were immediately available.

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has been conducting airstrikes to bolster his forces for nearly a year. The U.S. supports rebels fighting to overthrow Assad and has called on him to step down.

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