U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syrian talks have achieved clarity on the path forward and ''a few narrow issues'' remain before an attempt at talks on a political transition in Syria. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
STORY: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria talks have achieved clarity on the path forward and "a few narrow issues" remain, during a news conference on Friday (August 26) with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Kerry and Lavrov sought to finalize an agreement on fighting Islamist militants in Syria as the first evacuees left a besieged Damascus suburb under a plan which has aroused the U.N.'s concern. "We have completed the vast majority of those technical discussions which were primarily focused on making this cessation real and improving the level of humanitarian assistance and thereby getting the parties to the table so we can have a serious negotiation about how to end this war," Kerry said. "And in the next days our experts will be meeting in Geneva to conclude the few remaining technical issues and to move forward in order to take the steps necessary to build the confidence to overcome the deep mistrust that does exist on all sides," he said. A deal on fighting jihadists in Syria could help lead to an end to fighting between the army and its militia allies on one side and non-jihadist rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. This could pave the way for talks on a political transition to end the five-year Syrian conflict. As Kerry and the Russian foreign minister met at a hotel on Lake Geneva, residents and insurgents began to leave the besieged Damascus suburb of Daraya where civilians have been trapped since 2012, Reuters witnesses said. Rebels and Syria's army agreed the plan on Thursday to evacuate all the 4,000 residents and some 700 insurgents from Daraya in the coming days, ending one of the longest stand-offs in the civil war.