GENEVA – US and Russian military officials have held talks in Geneva ahead of a wider meeting on Friday aimed at trying to secure a cessation of hostilities in Syria, diplomats said. The unannounced bilateral meeting was aimed at narrowing positions before the two powers jointly chair a United Nations meeting on the issue, they said, declining to give details. “The idea of the whole exercise is for Russia and the United States to have a joint view. The UN will apparently promote a ceasefire and implementation, and will negotiate with the parties,” a diplomat close to the process told Reuters. United Nations spokesman Michele Zaccheo said UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who is returning from a visit to Damascus, took part in the US-Russian talks by videolink.