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Russia-US-UN meeting on Syria beginning in Geneva

July 26, 2:10 UTC+3 GENEVA
"We are set for fruitful work with our partners and we hope we’ll manage to make a step forward in the pan-Syrian talks," Gennady Gatilov, a Deputy Foreign Minister leading the Russian delegation said
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GENEVA, July 26. /TASS/. A trilateral meeting on Syria in the Russia-U.S.-UN format begins here on Tuesday. Participants in it are expected to discuss the problems related to the promulgation of peace settlement in war-torn Syria.

"We are set for fruitful work with our partners and we hope we’ll manage to make a step forward in the pan-Syrian talks," Gennady Gatilov, a Deputy Foreign Minister leading the Russian delegation told TASS.

Paul Patin, the spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the UN Office in Geneva told TASS the U.S. will be represented by the U.S. President’s special envoy for Syria, Michael Ratney.

UN Secretary General’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will attend the meeting, too. His press secretary Jessie Shahin said on Monday he had received an invitation to the meeting from the cochairmen of the Syria International Support Group in order to discuss the situation and the opportunities for promoting a political process there.

The agenda of the talks, as well as the time and place are kept confidential. Shahin said mass media are not invited to cover the meeting.

She indicated the current meeting is not the first meeting in this format and the previous two meetings were also held behind closed doors.

Paul Patin said, on his part, the organizers of the talks do not envision any contacts with the media. It appears that all the participants are avoiding publicity and have no interest in releasing any details on the talks.

Promulgation of political settlement in Syria and the convocation of a new round of pan-Syrian talks will have a prominent place in the discussions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced concern over the De Mistura’s procrastination with convening a new round of pan-Syrian consultations, as the previous round ended in April.

"We’re concerned because the Secretary General’s special envoy Staffan de Mistura shies away from his immediate duties, doesn’t convene a new round of pan-Syrian talks, and begins to make statements saying, well, let’s Russia and the U.S. agree on how to steer the Syrian political settlement first, and then the UN will convene a new round of pan-Syrian consultations.

De Mistura said in Berlin on his part last Friday the talks between government officials and the Syrian opposition might resume in August. He said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and he were full of resolve to consider an appropriate date in August for a resumption of the talks in Geneva.

During Kerry’s visit to Moscow, the sides discussed in detail the specific steps conducive to a ceasefire and the laying of a groundwork for political transition in Syria but they withheld them from publication for the time being.

Lavrov and Kerry said then each side would have to do certain work. Their meeting was followed by a number of telephone conversations where they discussed the steps to be taken.

It is not ruled out that now the Russian and U.S. officials may consider detailing of the earlier agreements at the talks in Geneva on Tuesday. As for Lavrov and Kerry, they meet on the same day in the Lao capital Vientiane on the sidelines of an ASEAN ministerial conference and Syrian settlement is destined to be one of the items on their agenda.

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