New international negotiations on Syria that will start Friday follow weeks of intensive diplomacy, a significant amount of arm-twisting on all sides, and agreement between the United States and Russia that the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not be on the table for now.
In the lead-up to the talks, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his Russian counterpart have stipulated in near-daily conversations that their ongoing disagreement about where a Syrian political transition must end — with the United States insisting Assad must go, and Russia demanding the opposite...
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