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Kerry, Lavrov say broach ceasefire zone for Syria

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[January 13, 2014]  PARIS (Reuters)  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed the possibility of ceasefires in parts of Syria, Kerry said on Monday after talks in Paris.

Lavrov said the two also discussed a possible willingness by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to open aid corridors.

"We talked today about the possibility of trying to encourage a ceasefire. Maybe a localized ceasefire in Aleppo," Kerry told a news conference after talks with Lavrov and U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Paris.

Lavrov, whose government backs Assad, said Damascus had indicated it might provide access for humanitarian aid to besieged areas. He specifically cited the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta, where 160,000 people have been largely trapped by fighting, according to the United Nations.

"We await similar steps by the opposition," Lavrov said.

The United States is pushing for a series of confidence-building measures in the Syrian civil war, which has killed more than 100,000 people, in advance of a planned peace conference in Switzerland on January 22.

(Reporting by Warren Strobel; writing by Brian Love; editing by Mark John)

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