Efforts to stabilise a Syrian ceasefire and restart stalled peace talks face an uphill struggle in Vienna as the external powers most deeply involved in the crisis try to narrow their differences.
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, are co-chairing a meeting of the International Syria Support Group on Tuesday in an attempt to patch up an agreement reached in February on a cessation of hostilities and expedite the delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged areas.
As well as the UK, France, the EU and the Arab League, the 17-member group includes Saudi Arabia and Turkey – which are seeking the overthrow of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad – and Iran, his most important regional ally. Neither the Syrian government nor opposition are taking part.
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