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11/15/15

Syria: Diplomats set plan for Syrian government, opposition talks, elections - by Matthew Lee and George Jahn

Invoking the need for joint action after the terrorist attacks on Paris, foreign ministers of nearly 20 nations agreed Saturday to an ambitious yet incomplete plan for bringing peace to Syria and ending its role as a breeding ground for ISIS and other radical Islamic groups.

Countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, which support different sides in the conflict, put aside their dispute to condemn the bombings and shootings that left at least 123 people in the French capital dead Friday. So did Moscow and Washington.

Standing next to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ahead of Saturday's full ministerial meeting, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the attacks "the most vile, horrendous, outrageous, unacceptable acts on the planet". He said they "encouraged us today to do even harder work to make progress and to help resolve the crises that we face."

"The events in Paris underscore the threat that Daesh poses to all of us," he later told reporters, referring by an alternate name to ISIS, which claimed responsibility for the Paris terror spree. Kerry spoke in French for part of his post-meeting remarks, in a bow to the victims of those attacks.

Lavrov said there was "no justification for terrorist acts, and no justification for us not doing much more to defeat ISIS and al Nusra and the like," adding: "I hope that this meeting as well would allow us to move forward."

The plan presented by the two appeared to draw heavily on a recently circulated Russian initiative. With just two weeks elapsed since the Syria talks first convened, it could mark a significant advance, if successful

Read more: Diplomats set plan for Syrian government, opposition talks, elections | CTV News

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