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Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Russia’s Lavrov: Upcoming Astana Syria Talks will Tackle De-escalation Zones

Russia’s Lavrov: Upcoming Astana Syria Talks will Tackle De-escalation Zones
Saeed Abdul Razzak and Taha Abdul-Wahed Asharq Al Awsat 27 June 2017
https://english.aawsat.com/trazzak/news-middle-east/russias-lavrov-upcoming-astana-syria-talks-will-tackle-de-escalation-zones

Moscow, Ankara – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the US-led
international coalition fighting terrorism in Syria of “sparing” the
al-Nusra Front group from strikes in Syria, calling it a true manifestation
of double standards that should be abandoned.

Speaking at a presser with his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu,
Lavrov said that the anticipated meeting in the Kazakhstan capital, Astana,
will be dedicated to drafting the fine print for the de-escalation zones
deal for Syria.

The meeting is hosted under a Russia-Turkey-Iran tripartite sponsorship and
will be attended by a Syrian regime delegation and opposition
representatives.

“We consider it a very dangerous game that should be stopped, and all the
double standards or some ulterior thoughts should be set aside for the sake
of uncompromising fight against terrorism,” Lavrov said.

The Russian top diplomat also hoped that the forthcoming discussions in
Astana would positively impact the efforts for resolving the conflict and
moving forward the negotiating process in Geneva.

According to Lavrov, work is in progress on de-esclation zones and the
experts’ committee tasked with establishing “safe havens” is still
discussing “practical, technical and military professional issues whether it
is to monitor compliance with the cessation of hostilities, to ensure
unhindered access, to deliver humanitarian aid, and to transport civilians.”

Lavrov said that “since the announcement of the establishment of
de-escalation zones in Syria, there has been a significant decline of
military activity and violence” in those areas.

Russia, Turkey and Iran have confirmed their participation in the next
international meeting on Syria scheduled to be held on July 4-5, Kazakh
Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov told reporters on Monday.

“We have received participation confirmation from all the guarantor
countries, sent by the special representative of the Russian president, the
special representative of the Turkish foreign minister, as well as the
Turkish and Iranian deputy foreign ministers,” he said.

According to the Kazakh top diplomat, United Nations special envoy for Syria
Staffan de Mistura and the Jordanian delegation have also confirmed their
participation.

“We expect the United States to send their high-ranking representative to
take part in the next Astana meeting as an observer,” the Kazakh foreign
minister added.

“We also expect the guarantor countries to finally confirm the participation
of the Syrian regime delegation, as well as the delegation of the armed
opposition,” Abdrakhmanov pointed out.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said earlier that a high-level meeting on
settling the situation in Syria would be held in Astana on July 4-5. The
guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – are expected to consider
documents concerning various aspects of the de-escalation zones, as well as
discuss steps which need to be taken to ensure unhindered humanitarian
access and restore infrastructure facilities.

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