U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other top diplomats are in Paris in a fresh attempt to find solutions for Syria’s nearly six-year-old war that has claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hosted the meeting in the French capital to discuss Syria with United States, European and Arab top diplomats and members of Syria’s opposition, a group known as the “friends of Syria.”
Foreign ministers of Germany, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and a representative from the European Union attended the meeting at the French foreign ministry as the Syrian government advances into the remains of rebel-held east Aleppo.
All calls for a stop to the fighting have so far failed. The Paris discussions will also aim to pave the way for renewed peace talks in Geneva between all of the warring parties.
“My goal in all this is … to get both sides, all of the forces, to the table in Geneva,” Kerry said in Paris on Friday night, adding that the destruction in Aleppo was the worst “since World War Two itself.”
His comments came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Russia and Syrian government forces will continue their bombing raids in Aleppo until rebels vacate the city.
Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly also voted to pass a resolution late Friday that demanded an immediate cessation of fighting in Syria and urgent humanitarian aid access.
Russia, China and Iran voted against the resolution, which is non-binding but carries political weight.