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MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. The United Nations should speed up the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva following almost a year-long pause in the negotiations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said in an interview with TASS.
"As for another round of the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, according to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, they are scheduled to take place on February 20 following months-long delay," Gatilov added.
"We believe that delaying the talks since April 2016 is unreasonable so the United Nations should speed up the process," the senior Russian diplomat added.
Gatilov went on to say that Moscow considered the recent Astana meeting on Syria (held on January 23-24) to be "an important step aimed at boosting efforts for settling the Syrian conflict." "First, the armed opposition groups have joined the process, particularly, the talks on Syria’s future, while they had been refusing to build any contacts with the government," the diplomat noted. "Second, an important conclusion was made in Astana, as everybody agreed that there was no military solution to the Syrian conflict."
Besides, the Russian deputy foreign minister pointed out that the meeting’s participants had confirmed the ceasefire established in accordance with an agreement reached on December 29, while a trilateral mechanism for monitoring the ceasefire and investigating ceasefire violations had been set up by Russia, Iran and Turkey.
"It was made clear that all the efforts aimed to advance the search for a political solution made in Astana would contribute to the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva under the United Nations auspices in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254," Gatilov said. "One of the positive results of the Astana meeting is that it gave a much-needed impetus to the process, encouraging the United Nations to boost their activities."
Gatilov also said that unnecessary delays in talks "are harmful for the settlement process." "This is why since no talks under UN auspices have been taking place, new initiatives emerged," he explained. "Of course, it would be better if all these efforts were carried out under a single umbrella but for that long pauses in dialogue should be avoided."
"We are convinced that participants in the talks should stop going around in circles and tackle specific issues in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254," the high-ranking Russian diplomat concluded.