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Kerry, Lavrov Confident About Syrian Peace Plan

  • VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talk in Kiruna, Sweden, Wednesday, May 15, 2013.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, right, and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talk in Kiruna, Sweden, Wednesday, May 15, 2013.

The United States and Russia say they believe they will soon convene peace talks to end the violence in Syria. At the United Nations, the General Assembly is expected to adopt a resolution Wednesday condemning the continued bloodshed there.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a joint news conference in Sweden that both he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are "very, very hopeful" that plans to hold a June peace conference in Geneva are progressing.
Lavrov agreed, saying Moscow and Washington are trying to mobilize support for the negotiations from Syria's government and opposition, as well as other countries concerned.
Kerry said the peace drive is based a proposal announced last year for the creation of a transitional government in Syria "with full executive authority by mutual consent," ambiguous wording which deliberately leaves President Bashar al-Assad's future role unclear.
UN vote

Also Wednesday, the U.N. General Assembly will vote on a non-binding resolution that condemns Syrian authorities and accepts the opposition Syrian National Coalition as party to a potential political transition.
The resolution, drafted by Qatar, notes the SNC's widespread international acceptance as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
The resolution also demands that Syria give a United Nations team free access to investigate alleged uses of chemical weapons. That team - authorized by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - is ready to deploy, but Syria has not allowed them into the country.
Russia opposes the resolution, and diplomats say the document is expected to earn less support than a previous resolution the General Assembly passed last August.

More violence

Meanwhile, Syrian rebels launched a coordinated assault on the main prison in the northern city of Aleppo Wednesday in an attempt to free hundreds of government opponents being held there.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said anti-government fighters detonated two car bombs outside the compound before storming the compound.
The Observatory said Aleppo's central prison is believed to be holding about 4,000 prisoners, including Islamists and common criminals.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said two projectiles fired from Syria hit Israeli-occupied Mount Hermon on Wednesday morning without causing damage or injuries. The popular resort site was initially closed for visitors, but reopened later in the day.
Syrian residents and a U.S. Internet monitoring company said Syria is experiencing a nationwide Internet outage. It is the second such cut-off in two weeks.
The U.S.-based Renesys Corp. said Syria went offline Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. local time.

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