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Kremlin says no official date for Astana meeting on Syria yet

January 12, 14:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Earlier on Thursday Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed preparations for Astana meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev

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MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. The official date for the meeting on Syrian settlement in Astana has not been set yet, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

"There has been no official announcement yet," he said when asked to comment on unofficial information about plans to hold Astana meeting on January 23.

Peskov confirmed that Russia would be presented in Astana "at the expert level." When asked whether a top-level meeting on the Syrian issue is possible, he said: "It is hardly possible to speak about it now."

Earlier on Thursday Kremlin press service said Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed preparations for Astana meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in a phone conversation.

In mid-December 2016, Russian and Turkish leaders Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed with Kazakhstan’s president the possibility to hold a meeting between representatives of the Syrian conflicting sides in Astana. Nazarbayev welcomed the idea, saying his country supports international efforts aimed at peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict.

On December 29, Putin said that agreements on ceasefire in Syria had been reached, and that the Syrian government and the armed opposition were ready to begin peace talks. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said later that the talks in Astana would be held on January 23. Meanwhile he warned that the talks could be disrupted if the ceasefire regime was violated in Syria.

The armed groups of the Syrian opposition earlier said they were "freezing all contacts related to preparations for Astana talks" and accused pro-government forces of violating the ceasefire regime near Damascus, as well as in Hama and Daraa provinces.

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