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New Syria talks to open in Switzerland

New Syria talks to open in Switzerland
Fresh diplomatic talks to end the Syrian conflict open in Switzerland on Saturday, the first since Washington halted bilateral negotiations with Moscow on a truce agreed earlier this month.

With violence still raging in Aleppo, US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and top diplomats from the UN and regional powers in Lausanne.

But even before the talks began, Lavrov appeared to be dampening down hopes of a breakthrough with Russian news agencies on Friday quoting him as saying he had no “special expectations” for the latest diplomatic effort.

And a French diplomatic source told AFP: “When you see the results from the previous efforts, quite frankly I’m a bit sceptical about the next ones.”

But a senior US official, travelling with Kerry, told reporters that the talks were designed to explore ideas for ending the conflict not to produce an immediate breakthrough.

“I think we need to see what happens in the room to determine whether this is the beginning of a new process that continues in this format or not,” he said. 
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