U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he would welcome a ''constructive role'' by Russia in the fight against Islamic State in Syria during talks in Vienna. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A meeting on Friday between the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey aimed at exploring a political solution to Syria's civil war raised ideas that might change the dynamic in the country, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said. "I am convinced ... that today's meeting was constructive and productive," Kerry told reporters after the meeting in Vienna. The four countries failed to resolve differences on the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in talks on Friday (October 23) but could meet again in a week to discuss how to end Syria's civil war. Speaking to reporters afterwards, ministers said they had been unable to bridge the central dispute between Washington and its allies, who say Assad has no future in Syria, and Russia, which showed its support by hosting him in Moscow this week. In a separate development, Russia and Jordan agreed to coordinate their military actions on Syria by setting up a "special working mechanism" in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday. Russia's three-week-old campaign of air strikes against Islamist groups opposed to Assad has halted an offensive by rebels, including some backed by the United States and its allies, which had eroded Assad's control in the west of Syria. "The United States, I want to emphasize, welcomes support in the fight against Daesh and if Russia intends to join in that fight, we welcome a constructive role," said Kerry. Some diplomats and analysts believe Russia might be able to exploit its influence with Assad and its newly demonstrated military muscle in Syria's skies to broker a deal to end the conflict. Speaking after the roughly two-hour meeting, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged the fundamental disagreement but suggested that there may be a solution and spoke of the possibility of holding wider talks in a week's time.