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Moscow expects new US administration to take part in preparations for Syria talks

December 30, 2016, 21:35 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

In mid-December, Russian and Turkish presidents discussed with Kazakh leader the possibility of holding a meeting between the parties to the Syrian conflict in Astana

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UNITED NATIONS, December 30. /TASS/. Russia hopes that the new US administration led by Donald Trump will take part in preparations for the intra-Syrian negotiations in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told reporters on Friday.

"Yes, we do expect that the Trump Administration after it comes into the White House on January 20 will be an important participant," he said. According to Churkin, work to organize the talks in Astana is not just bilateral effort by Russia and Turkey.

"Definitely, Iran is willing to participate actively in the preparation of the Astana meeting. You will recall that there was a very important trilateral meeting in Moscow on December 20 of the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran. We hope others will join in. In our mind, Egypt is a country which can join the process of preparation of the meeting in Astana right now. There are others who are very important players - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, maybe some others. All of them are welcome," the diplomat said.

In mid-December, Russian and Turkish Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussed with Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the possibility of holding a meeting between the parties to the Syrian conflict in Astana. Nazarbayev approved the idea, saying that his country "has supported international efforts aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis by peaceful means from the very beginning."

Syrian opposition representatives first got in touch with Kazakhstan’s authorities regarding the possibility of holding the talks on the situation in Syria in that country in April 2015. The first round of negotiations that brought together Syrian opposition members representing various political parties was held in Astana last May. The participants in the consultations adopted a joint document calling for withdrawal of all foreign military from Syria and revival of national army. They also reached an agreement on humanitarian issues, in particular, on setting up the corridors for delivering humanitarian aid to refugees with the support of international agencies, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

They also discussed the roadmap for the political solution to the crisis. The Syrian opposition said that it had been able to reach specific agreements for the first time during the meeting in Astana. The second round of talks was held in October 2015. The participants in the consultations adopted a declaration, which stated the need for parliamentary elections in Syria with the presence of international observers and provision of security for all candidates.

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