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Kremlin: Russia, Iran in talks on preparations for Astana meeting on Syria

January 19, 2017, 13:48 UTC+3
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MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. Russia continues contacts with the Iranian counterparts on the meeting on the Syrian settlement, due in Astana on January 23, including regarding invitation to the US to participate in the meeting, press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"We continue contacts with our Iranian counterparts, including regarding discussions of the topic," he said.

The press secretary did not give further details. He did not confirm information the meeting could be rescheduled for a later date. "No, as for Astana I have nothing to add as yet," he said.

Announcement on the forthcoming talks between the Syrian government and the opposition was made after a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers in Moscow on December 20, 2016. They gave support to the efforts to establish peace across the entire Syrian territory.

Muhammed Alloush, the head of the political wing of Jaysh al-Islam grouping, which is one of the seven Islamist groups making up the Islamic Front coalition, will lead the oppositionist delegation. The Islamic Front cooperates with the so-called Syrian Free Army. Al-Watan newspaper said the Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari will head the Syrian government delegation.

Iran is against the U.S. involvement in the talks in Astana. Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said there are "no grounds" for the U.S. participation, still saying "it is possible the hosting country (Kazakhstan) may invite the U.S. as a an observer."

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