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Russia's Lavrov, Kerry call for prompt start to Syria talks

U.S. Foreign Secretary John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) go for a handshake before their bilateral talks in Munich, Germany, February 11, 2016, ahead of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a late phone conversation on Friday called for a prompt start to the next round of Syria peace talks, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The talks, under the aegis of the United Nations were originally due to begin on March 7 in Geneva, but have been postponed until March 9, due to ” logistical and technical reasons and also for the ceasefire to better settle down,” the U.N. said.

“The two sides called to start the negotiations as soon as possible ... between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the opposition, during which the Syrians themselves should determine the future of their country,” the ministry said in a statement.

Kerry and Lavrov also reaffirmed the need for mutual cooperation to ensure the end of hostilities in Syria, the ministry said.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly. Editing by Jane Merriman