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MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. Russian and French Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Jean-Marc Ayrault have agreed to cooperate in preparing the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
"The ministers have agreed that Russian and French representatives will be cooperating to prepare and hold a next round of intra-Syrian talks, due to begin in Geneva on March 23, 2017," the ministry said in a statement.
During the phone talk, Lavrov noted that absence of some armed opposition groups from the recent meeting manifested certain countries’ continuing attempts to hamper a peace resolution in Syria. At the same time, the Russian foreign minister expressed his satisfaction with the negotiations in Astana.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the 3rd international meeting on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana had brought together delegations of three countries - guarantors of the nationwide cessation of hostilities agreement, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran - and the Syrian government along with representatives of Jordan, the United States, United Nations. The armed Syrian opposition had refused to attend the talks, "preferring to make speculations about its participation in this event.".