Obama Hopes for Military Talks with Russia on Syria 'Very Soon': Kerry

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By Reuters

LONDON - President Barack Obama believes that military talks with Russia on Syria are an important next step and hopes they will take place very shortly, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

"The president believes that mil-to-mil conversation is an important next step and hopefully will take place very shortly and help to define some of the different options available to us as we consider next steps in Syria," Kerry said at the start of talks with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in London.

"Our focus remains on destroying ISIL (Islamic State militants) and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria, which we believe cannot be achieved with the long-term presence of [President Bashar] Assad," Kerry told reporters. "We’re looking for ways in which to find a common ground."

The U.S. is weighing a proposal by Moscow for military talks on Syria where Russia has been building up a military presence in support of President Bashar Assad.

The U.S., along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, has supported insurgents battling to unseat Assad.