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John Kerry arrives in Moscow for Syria talks

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday on Syria, agreeing to hold an international conference to find a political solution to the conflict.

    Moscow, which supports Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, has refused to succumb to pressure from the White House to force him to step down.

    Prior to the talks, Kerry said both Russia and the U.S. shared enough common interests to end the ongoing crisis, which began in March 2011.

    Russia has vetoed three United Nations Security Council resolutions proposing sanctions on the regime and is opposed to any military intervention.

    The meeting comes after US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said last week that the United States had not ruled out arming the Syrian opposition.

    Kerry's visit comes as speculation mounts over the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

    Russia's foreign ministry urged the West to stop politicizing the issue.

    The U.S. has said the use of chemical weapons in the conflict could be a "game-changer", which could lead to international military intervention.

    However, the United Nations has played down claims that there was evidence that Syrian rebels had used nerve gas.

    Kerry's visit comes in a bid to improve relations between Russia and the United States, which have been plagued by disagreements over issues that also include dealing with North Korea and Iran since Putin's return to the Kremlin a year ago.

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    Tagged as: Moscow map, John Kerry, Syria talks, Moscow news