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Russia: Assad mulling open humanitarian access

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 13, 2014 at 11:01 a.m.

us-secretary-of-state-john-kerry-third-right-from-front-and-syrian-national-coalition-chief-ahmad-al-jarba-third-left-from-front-and-members-of-their-delegations-sit-at-the-start-of-their-meeting-at-the-us-ambassador-residence-in-paris-on-monday-jan-13-2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, third right from front, and Syrian National Coalition Chief Ahmad al-Jarba, third left from front, and members of their delegations sit at the start of their meeting at the U.S. Ambassador residence in Paris on Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.

PARIS — Syria's government and the opposition have agreed to consider opening humanitarian access in the run-up to a peace conference that would bring the sides together for the first time, the top diplomats for Russia and the U.S. said Monday.

Speaking in the midst of a two-day series of meetings in Paris, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also said they were pressing for a cease-fire and prisoner exchange between the warring sides.

But Syria's government derided the meetings in Paris, saying in a statement they were "closer to illusions than reality and taken by people who are detached from reality and extremely far from any acceptable political logic." Russia has been one of Syria's closest allies.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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