WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone on Thursday about the situation in Aleppo and agreed to keep discussing a ceasefire to allow aid delivery and the departure of anyone who wants to leave the embattled city, the State Department said.
The phone call was in addition to a brief meeting the two men had on Thursday on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe conference in Hamburg, Germany, and a meeting on Wednesday evening also in Hamburg.
“They agreed to continue discussions about establishing a framework for a ceasefire that will allow the delivery of aid, desperately needed humanitarian aid, as well as the safe departure of those who wish to leave the city,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told a briefing.
She said Lavrov had announced technical discussions in Geneva on Saturday, but the specific nature of those talks was still being worked out.
Lavrov said earlier on Thursday the Syrian army had stopped active military operations in eastern Aleppo because a large effort to remove civilians from the city was under way, RIA news agency reported. Trudeau said she could not confirm the Syrian government had stopped its military operations in Aleppo.
Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati, Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Eric Walsh and Peter Cooney