Kerry to discuss Syria with Putin; rebel groups meet in Riyadh
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that he intends to visit Moscow next week for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss a permanent political solution of the Syrian conflict. He said despite its interests in Syria, "Russia has been constructive in helping the Vienna process to take place, to be successful, and I think they want a political settlement there." He made the comments on the sidelines of the climate talks in Paris.
As the diplomatic efforts by the two powers continue, a three-day meeting of Syrian rebel groups started on Tuesday in Riyadh. Representatives of most of the main groups are participating in the meeting in an effort to unite all of the organizations fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad into a single body ahead of political negotiations. Saudi Arabia, with the support of the US, is pushing the rebel organizations to join forces so the rebels will have a "single voice." However, there is little chance of such a result because the Kurds are not participating in the talks, and some of the rebel groups have ties with terrorist organizations affiliated or identifying with Al Qaeda and ISIS.