U.N. chief, Lavrov uphold Syria agreement, call for talks

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses a news conference at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (Reuters)

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed on Tuesday on the need to urgently implement the cessation of hostilities agreement in Syria and for the warring parties to return to the table for political negotiations, a U.N. statement said. The statement, issued after the two held talks at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, said Ban thanked Lavrov for "his significant role in achieving recent progress on Syria." "They agreed on the importance of urgently moving forward simultaneously on implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement, providing vital humanitarian assistance to civilians, and returning to political negotiations." (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Dominic Evans)