Russia, US Agree to Try to End Syria War
John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov announce peace conference
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2013 7:32 AM CDT
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, right, hands a folder to John Kerry before the start of the NATO- Russia Council meeting at NATO headquarters on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, in Brussels, Belgium.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

(Newser) – Russia and the US haven't exactly been on the same page when it comes to dealing with Syria. That appears to have changed: John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced at a midnight press conference that their respective countries have agreed to hold a peace conference "as soon as practical, possibly, hopefully as soon as the end of this month"; they intend to push the Syrian government and the opposition to attend. Reuters reports that their goal is to resurrect a plan that was agreed upon in June in Geneva to create a transitional government; it never got off the ground because it didn't spell out a fate for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The bit of unusual diplomatic unity comes as the situation seems to be growing ever worse: The New York Times reports that the UN now estimates that in the last two months, the population of displaced residents within Syria has swelled by more than 100%, to 4.25 million; meanwhile, Israel's weekend airstrikes against the country are ramping up fears that the violence could spill beyond Syria's borders. At the joint news conference, Lavrov indicated that Russia wasn't wedded to the idea of Assad retaining power. "I would like to emphasize we do not, we are not interested in the fate of certain persons," he said. "We are interested in the fate of the total Syrian people."

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
May 9, 2013 2:43 AM CDT
Now the US wants peace in Syria? No. The job is not quite finished. It could still rebound from the goal of a failed state, which is the US-Israeli plan. More to do. Forbes Kerry has more covert ops to amuse him. Like the one in Benghazi, with ex CIA man Stevens. Is ever a man ex CIA?
May 8, 2013 4:17 PM CDT
This is just typical of the U.S. Government and it's politicians, caring WAY MORE for everyone else than the U.S. citizen. I promise you this continued behavior will will ruin the U.S.
May 8, 2013 12:52 PM CDT
Russia's interest in the well being of the Syrian people may be largely powered by the fact that their only naval base outside Russian territory is in Tartus, Syria. It's possible that they don't give a rat's glutes WHO'S in power there, as long as their base and their people are unmolested. I think the insurgents could make a lot of headway by doing what they can to calm any concerns the Russian's may have about the security of their base if the Assad regime collapses. Hell ... They might even find themselves an "ally" in the matter.