March 16, 2016 / 8:02 PM / a year ago

Kerry speaks with Russian counterpart ahead of Moscow visit

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for their meeting on Syria, in Zurich, Switzerland, January 20, 2016.Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Russian counterpart on Wednesday ahead of his upcoming trip to Moscow, a call expected to touch on the 5-year-old conflict in Syria and the cessation of hostilities there, the State Department said.

Responding to questions about reports that Syrian Kurds are preparing to announce a federal system in northern Syria, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington would not recognize any self-ruled, semi-autonomous zones in Syria.

Kerry told reporters on Tuesday he would visit Moscow next week for meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin.

Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and David Alexander; Editing by Eric Beech

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