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Russia hopes for direct contacts between Syrian government, opposition - Lavrov

February 05, 10:05 UTC+3

Moscow is satisfied by results of the Syrian meeting in Astana on January 23-24, Russia's Foreign Minister said in an interview with Austria's Profil weekly

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MOSCOW, February 5. /TASS/. Russia hopes representatives of the Syrian government and opposition will proceed to direct negotiations, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Austria's Profil weekly.

He said, Moscow is satisfied by results of the Syrian meeting in Astana on January 23-24.

"At the table for the first time every were representatives of the Syrian government and of the armed opposition, who earlier have never participated in contacts with the government and generally in the processes, related to talks on Syria's future," the minister said. "Though the Syrian parties have not changed their well-known approaches, they still confirmed they are ready for a dialogue, at first related, and later on, we hope, direct contacts."

He said, in Astana the parties succeeded in "improving the ceasefire in Syria," and also offered a trilateral mechanism for observing ceasefire.

"On the eve of the meeting, with involvement of representatives of Russia and Jordan as guarantors, parties managed to sign agreements under which the Southern Front armed units joined ceasefire," Lavrov added.

"At the same time, our plans are not to substitute Geneva with the Astana format," Lavrov said. "We hail resuming of the inter-Syrian talks under auspices of the UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, and we still believe their format should be wide, inclusive, right in compliance with the UN SC Resolution number 2254."

"We are undertaking realistic steps to favor the Geneva process, an additional impetus to which was given in Astana," he added.

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