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Kremlin says it is too early to speak about timeframe of talks on Syria in Astana

December 23, 2016, 18:18 UTC+3

Last week, the presidents of Russia and Turkey discussed with the Kazakh president the possibility of holding in Astana a meeting of the parties in the Syrian conflict

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MOSCOW, December 23./TASS/. It is too early at the moment to speak about the timeframe of negotiations on Syria in Kazakhstan’s Astana, President Vladimir Putin will have several telephone conversations later on Friday, including on the issue, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

"I would not be speaking about the timeframe at the moment. Contacts continue, preparations for this meeting in Astana are in progress. Today the president is scheduled for a number of important telephone conversations, including on the issue," Peskov said.

Last week, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussed with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev the possibility of holding in Astana a meeting of the parties in the Syrian conflict. Nazarbayev approved the idea, saying Kazakhstan "has from the start supported international efforts aimed at a peace settlement of the conflict in Syria".

Syrian president’s adviser Bouthaina Shaaban said that the Syrian leadership sees potential talks in Astana as "the start of a new stage in the political settlement of the crisis". She said "the Syrian government is ready for a dialog with any (opposition) forces, willing to arrive at a political settlement of the crisis".

Earlier, one of the leaders of the Syrian Popular Front for Change, Qadri Jamil, told TASS that talks of the Syrian government and opposition in Astana will be held before intra-Syrian talks in Geneva on February 8, and are expected to take place in the second half of January. Jamil is also representative of the Moscow group of Syria’s opposition.

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