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Russia, US to resume consultations between military experts on Syria — diplomat

July 26, 2016, 21:40 UTC+3

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, "it is yet to be identified where Jabhat al-Nusra is present and where not"

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov

© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

GENEVA, July 26. /TASS/. Russian and U.S. military experts will soon resume consultations to coordinate zones to separate Syria’s moderate opposition from the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Tuesday after the trilateral talks on Syria in the format Russia-the United States-the United Nations.

"Consultations between military experts ended yesterday, now we are eyeing to resume them," he said.

"So far, however the date has not yet been appointed. I think it is a matter of days," he added.

According to the Russian diplomat, "it is yet to be identified where Jabhat al-Nusra is present and where not." In his words, such issues need coordination for the purpose of "delivering joint strikes.".

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister also noted that no meetings on Syria between the Russian and U.S. delegations are planned for the immediate future.

"So far, we plan no more contacts. Today, we discussed all we wanted," he said. "We have agreed that in case of necessity we will organize additional meetings, in particular, in such tri-lateral format."

Efforts to promote political process in Syria to be continued

Participants in the trilateral consultations on Syria held in the format Russia-US-UN in Geneva agreed that further efforts are needed to promote the political process and resume the intra-Syrian dialogue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

"As for the date of a next round of talks, we believe it should be launched as soon as possible," he stressed. "United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura is also interested in it but so far he is undecided about concrete dates."

The date will depend on "how soon the documents Russian and American military experts are working on are finalized," he noted.

"The background for discussions" in Geneva, according to Gatilov, was made up of the recent agreements between Russia and the United States geared at invigorating efforts against terrorist groups, first of all, Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia). "Our position is that there must be no preliminary conditions for the launch of another round of intra-Syrian talks," the Russian deputy minister said, adding that not a single document agreed by Russia and the United States in the recent time has any mention of such preconditions.

A new round of inter-Syrian talks will be impossible without Kurds, Gennady Gatilov said.

"Naturally, it is impossible to start any substantiated talks without Kurdish representatives. It is universally recognized that Kurds should be represented at the talks because they are a serious political force," the Russian deputy foreign minister stressed.

"Unfortunately, these issues remain unresolved," Gatilov said.

Situation in Aleppo

The situation in Aleppo poses a major problem, but it should not impact the restart of intra-Syrian talks, a new round of which is possible at the end of August, Gennady Gatilov added.

"There must be no preconditions for the launch of a new round of intra-Syrian talks, none of the documents that Russia and the US have agreed over the recent time, mentions this," Gatilov said.

"Although the situation in Aleppo definitely constitutes a serious problem, this must not be some precondition for restart of an intra-Syrian negotiation process," the diplomat said.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said he would work on convocation of intra-Syrian talks in August.

The Russian delegation to the meeting on Syria was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, US - by Special Envoy for Syria Michael Ratney, UN - by Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. The talks were held behind closed doors.

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