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Astana meeting fulfils its key task of preserving ceasefire in Syria - Russian expert

January 31, 2017, 2:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The expert noted that now there are two negotiating formats on Syria

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MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. The recent international meeting on Syrian settlement in Kazakhstan’s Astana has made it possible to fulfill the key task of preserving ceasefire, a senior political adviser to the UN special envoy for Syria said on Monday.

"The Astana meeting focused mainly on military issues and security problems," Vitaly Naumkin, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told journalists. "The key task of the Astana meeting has been fulfilled: ceasefire remains in force. Now, only isolated [ceasefire] violations are reported. It is quite an achievement after such sanguinary fighting."

The truce, in his words, will promote the launch of political process in Syria. "This is the basis for the negotiating process’ evolving into political one," he noted. "It paves the way for political talks. The question now is who comes for the talks, whether it would be one delegation or several delegations, whether some of the opposition forces would set any conditions."

The expert noted that now there are two negotiating formats on Syria. "Obviously, today we have two formats: the political format in Geneva and the military format in Astana," he said. "Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would like meetings in Astana be held regularly. So, I don’t rule out there could be Astana-2, Astana-3, and so forth.".

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