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Russia, US agree to seek early direct intra-Syrian talks in Geneva — Lavrov

March 25, 5:04 UTC+3
"The political process must be completed with an agreement between Syrian themselves on their country’s system they prefer", the Russian foreign minister also said
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A Syrian government army soldier

A Syrian government army soldier

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. Russia and the United States have agreed to seek an early start of direct negotiations between Damascus and the Syrian opposition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday after Russian-American talks.

"The political process must be completed with an agreement between Syrian themselves on their country’s system they prefer, and we have arranged as an immediate task to work towards the early start of direct talks in Geneva between the Syrian government delegation and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition with a view to fulfilling the parameters laid down in UN the Security Council Resolution 2254 on the processes that will be forming a transitional management body, that will promote agreement on the country’s new constitution and conducting free elections on its basis", the Russian foreign minister said.

"The atmosphere in the Russian-American dialogue very seriously affects the international community's efforts to resolve many urgent problems," Lavrov said. "Our cooperation has seriously promoted progress in overcoming the Syrian crisis. Thanks to the Russian-American initiative, approved by President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama, a mechanism of international support of the Syrian settlement, the so-called International Syria Support Group has been formed, and today we have agreed, in furtherance of the two presidents’ March 14 telephone conversation, to continue the coordination of actions to consolidate the regime of the cessation of hostilities, to prevent violations of this regime."

According to Lavrov, special attention will be given to "the need to avoid indiscriminate use of weapons." "We also agreed to continue efforts to expand humanitarian access to the blocked areas of Syria," the minister added. "We call on all the Syrian conflict sides to take additional measures for the release of prisoners and detainees. And most probably, the main thing at this stage - we have agreed to intensify efforts for the creation of the necessary conditions for the political process."

"We also confirmed that these our efforts will be taken in parallel with strengthening co-ordination in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group, Jabhat al-Nusra and other associated extremist organizations," Lavrov said. "We are convinced that this requires compliance with the UN Security Council demands to stop any support for terrorists, whether it be financial (support), weapons delivery, commercial transactions with the terrorists or providing asylum to them.".

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