Vienna meeting ends without new date to restart Syria peace talks

Sunday 15/05/2016
De Mistura: We want to keep momentum

VIENNA - International talks on the Syrian conflict ended Tuesday without a new date to restart peace talks, but the parties involved vowed to strengthen a shaky ceasefire.
"The issue is still waiting for some type of concrete outcome of this meeting but we cannot wait too long, we want to keep the momentum," Staffan de Mistura told reporters alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We have agreed consequences for any side's actions that have an agenda other than that of trying to reach an agreement and trying to reach peace," said Kerry at the end of the talks in Vienna.
Kerry added the August 1 date set for Syria's warring parties to agree the framework of a political transition is a "target" not a deadline.
Under the terms of the peace plan agreed by the UN Security Council, Bashar al-Assad's regime and his opposition had until August to agree the outlines of a political process.
But, speaking after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group, Kerry said: "The August date is not a drop date, it's a target date, and we all recognise that if we make significant progress and we're moving we will respect that process."
On his part, Lavrov insisted that Moscow is not wedded to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, but is backing his army against the Islamic State group
"We don't support Assad, we support the fight against terrorism," Lavrov argued, after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Vienna.
"On the ground we don't see any more real and efficient force than the Syrian army, even given all its weaknesses," he told reporters.
The aim of the conference, which brought together 17 countries backing the two warring sides, was to convince armed factions and opposition leaders to restart negotiations with the government.