U.S., Russia propose conference on Syrian conflict

Moscow, May 7 (EFE).- Secretary of State John Kerry announced here Tuesday that the United States and Russia have agreed to hold a conference on Syria toward the end of May, in which the Middle Eastern country's government and its armed opposition would take part.

The proposed conference should be held as "soon as is practical," Kerry said at a joint press conference in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"Its specific work will be to bring members of the government and the opposition together to see how we can implement the language of the (Geneva) communique," the secretary said, referring to a June 30, 2012, document establishing a path toward a transitional government in Syria.

"A negotiated settlement is the essential means to ending the bloodshed in Syria," Kerry said, while Lavrov said Moscow and Washington will use all means at their disposal to bring "the government and opposition to the negotiating table."

The conference should take place "if possible by the end of this month," the Russian foreign minister said.

For his part, Lavrov said that, unlike the armed opposition, the Syrian government has shown a willingness to apply the Geneva June 2012 proposal and has already put together a committee to take part in the dialogue.

Kerry also discussed the Syrian situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The conflict in Syria started in March 2011 and has claimed an estimated 70,000 lives.