The US and Russia failed to make a breakthrough on a ceasefire in war-ravaged Syria during a meeting between President Barack Obama and his counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines on the G20 Summit here on Monday.
The meeting went on “longer than planned” but the two leaders were unable to thrash out an agreement to stop the fighting in Syria.
US secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who met on Sunday to discuss Syria, held a fresh round of negotiations on Monday morning but this too ended without an agreement, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.
An US official was quoted by Reuters as saying that Obama and Putin did not get into the finer details of a deal, but made progress on clarifying "the remaining gaps". They directed Kerry and Lavrov to meet as early as this week to keep working on a deal, the official said.
“If an agreement can be reached, we want to do so urgently, because of the humanitarian situation. However, we must ensure that it is an effective agreement,” the official said.
The US and Russia have been trying to reach a deal on Syria, where rebel forces have been locked in a long and vicious war with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. The situation has been complicated by the presence of the Islamic State.
Thousands of civilians and fighters have died in the fighting, with the US and Russia taking opposite sides.
US state department officials, according to Reuters, declined to elaborate on the sticking points preventing a deal, though the American official said remaining differences revolved around how a plan to end the fighting will be implemented.
“Russia has insisted that it cannot agree to a deal unless opposition fighters, backed by the US and Middle East allies, are separated from al Qaeda linked militants they overlap with in some areas,” the report said.