Berlin, 17 Rabiul Akhir 1434/27 February 2013 (MINA) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held their first talks on Tuesday in the German capital over a wide range of issues with the ongoing Syrian crisis high on the agenda

       The “really serious and hard working session” lasted about one hour and 45 minutes, during which the two top diplomats spent more than half of their time on discussing the conflict in Syria, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

       Lavrov told Russian reporters after the meeting that his talks with Kerry were “quite constructive”, adding that “it feels like the second administration of Barack Obama will aim to play a more constructive role when it comes to its foreign policy agenda led by John Kerry.”

       Lavrov also said the two sides reaffirmed intention to do all they can to create conditions for the soonest start of a dialogue between the government and the opposition in Syria, according to Xinhua reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Wednesday.

       Earlier in the day when talking at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Kerry declined to elaborate on proposals to end the violence in Syria until after an international meeting in Rome slated for later in the week with leaders of the Syrian opposition.

        Syria has been witnessing turmoil for nearly two years with thousands of people dead and injured. Syrian UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has placed the death toll from the 23-month-old turmoil at nearly 70,000.

        Kerry, who took office on Feb. 1 succeeding Hillary Clinton, has headed for France to continue his first overseas trip, which will also take him to Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. (T/P014/E1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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