EU’s Mogherini hails ‘very good meeting’ on Syria

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov top right, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, top center, and other foreign ministers attend a meeting in Vienna, Austria, Saturday Nov. 14, 2015.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov top right, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, top center, and other foreign ministers attend a meeting in Vienna, Austria, Saturday Nov. 14, 2015.


European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hailed a “very good meeting” on the Syria crisis between 17 countries and three global bodies in Vienna on Saturday.

“The process can definitively start,” she told journalists after the talks to find common ground on how to resolve the nearly five-year conflict.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday that countries participating in a one-day conference on Syria had decided to start immediate talks with opposition groups there.

He told reporters outside the talks that the countries wanted elections to be held in Syria in 18 months, but added: “No one has any illusions about how difficult the task ahead will be.”

The Vienna talks featured foreign ministers and senior officials from the United States, Russia and more than a dozen other countries including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Western powers and their allies have insisted Assad must leave power as part of any political solution to the four-year conflict. His allies Russia and Iran support elections in which he could stand.

Diplomats say negotiators have struggled with the central issue of which organizations are terrorist groups and which are part of the opposition, which will determine who can take part in the political process.


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