Kerry seeks 'common ground' on Syria in visit to Moscow

"We really believe, the United States believes, that we share some very significant common interests with respect to Syria ‚ stability in the region, not having extremists creating problems throughout the region and elsewhere — and I think we have both embraced in the Geneva communiqué a common approach," Kerry said in remarks before meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.

"So it’s my hope that today we’ll be able to dig into that a little bit and see if we can find the common ground."

Kerry is in Moscow for what he has called “overdue” talks that are expected to be dominated by the two-year civil war in Syria. Other topics of discussion include missile defense and Iran's alleged nuclear program.

The trip follows U.S. intelligence assessments last month that chemical weapons appear to have been used in Syria, crossing President Obama's “red line” for increased U.S. action. If those reports are substantiated, Obama said over the weekend, he will take the case for action to the United Nations, creating pressure on Russia to abandon its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

"I think it’s very important that our key ministries and agencies, including the foreign ministry, cooperate in finding solutions for the most topical and relevant issues of today’s world," Putin said, without mentioning Syria directly. 

"I hope to be able to meet with Mr. President shortly in person. We will have a numfber of opportunities this year."

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