MOSCOW - Russia and the United States agreed on Tuesday to convene an international conference, possibly by the end of this month, to try to end the civil war in Syria and prevent bloodshed tearing the country apart.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry announced the agreement after talks in Moscow, despite their countries' differences over Syria, and said the Damascus government and the rebels fighting it should be invited.
The aim is to revive an agreement to create a transitional government that was reached in Geneva last June but was never put into force because it left open the question of what would happen to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"The alternative (to a negotiated solution) is that there is even more violence. The alternative is that Syria heads closer to an abyss, if not over the abyss and into chaos," Kerry told a joint news conference with Lavrov.
"The alternative is that the humanitarian crisis will grow. The alternative is that there may be even a break up of Syria," said Kerry, who earlier held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.