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Kerry, Lavrov Agree to Revive Syria Peace Talk Effort

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov are making a fresh attempt at holding a long-delayed peace conference to end Syria's civil war.

The two leaders met Friday with United Nations Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva. They have been discussing a Russian plan on how to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control and avert a U.S. military strike.

Kerry and Lavrov agreed to meet again at the end of the month in New York to discuss the peace talks, which were last held in June 2012. But Kerry said any progress would depend on the success of removing Syria's chemical weapons.

Syria has joined an international chemical weapons ban, but insists it has one month to provide details on its chemical weapons stockpile. President Bashar al-Assad said Thursday he will only finalize the deal to remove the chemical weapons if the U.S. stops threatening to attack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday praised Syria's decision to join the global poison gas ban, saying it shows the "serious intentions" of the Syrian government toward resolving the conflict.

Kerry says Syria should act quickly, warning Thursday that U.S. force may still be necessary if Washington is not satisfied with Mr. Assad's response.

President Barack Obama has threatened military strikes on Syria in response to an chemical weapons attack last month on a rebel-held area of Damascus that Washington says killed 1,400 people.

The U.S. says the Syrian government is responsible for the attack. Damascus denies this, saying the rebels carried out the attack. Russia, Syria's main international ally, has also denied that the government is responsible.