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CAIRO, May 29./TASS/. Egypt continues supporting the Astana process on the Syrian settlement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a joint news conference with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo.
"Our Egyptian friends support the Astana process, within the framework of which an agreement was reached on May 4 to create four de-escalation zones in Syria as the first move towards spreading the ceasefire to involve the entire country and as a very important measure that gives a possibility to separate normal armed opposition and terrorists of Islamic State," Lavrov said.
He said the Astana process will make it possible to draw a clear line between terrorists and the armed opposition in Syria. "Now, within the framework of the Astana process with the participation of Russia, Turkey and Iran, such separation becomes possible, and experts from our countries with the participation of experts from some other states will continue work to coordinate details that will make it possible to translate into practice the concept of de-escalation zones, and we welcome the participation of our Egyptian friends in this activity," the senior Russian diplomat said.
On May 4, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to set up four de-escalation zones in Syria. Under a memorandum signed at the talks in Astana, the four zones are Idlib province and some parts of neighboring provinces (Aleppo, Latakia and Hama), an area north of Homs, Damascus’s suburb Eastern Ghouta, and a number of provinces in southern Syria - Daraa and Al-Quneitra.
In those areas, combat operations, including flights by military aircraft, are outlawed as of May 6. The memorandum was concluded for six months with chances of automatic prolongation for another six months. Russia’s Defense Ministry said earlier that the fight against Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (outlawed in Russia - TASS) would be continued inside and around those zones.