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SOCHI, November 27. /TASS/. Russia supports the efforts of UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to spread the practice of local truces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday after talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.
“Success in this sphere would make it possible to avoid new casualties and return thousands of civilians to normal life,” Lavrov said.
“We are working on creating conditions to resume the political process. We need to draw lessons from the previous attempts’ failures, including the conference in Montreux. We have confirmed our readiness to provide the Moscow site for contacts between the Syrian government and a wide range of [Syria's] public and political forces,” he said.
According to UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011.
An international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2, organized by Russia and the United States and designed to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis, kicked off on January 22 in Montreux, Switzerland. Its first two rounds in January and February 2014 brought no particular progress. The parties to the Syrian conflict agreed to continue their discussions.
“During the talks, we have voiced support of the activity carried out by the UN secretary general’s special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura. The efforts include mobilization of international assistance to the political settlement in Syria, the last word in which should belong to Syrians themselves on the basis of their mutual consent,” Lavrov said.
“Russia and Syria positively assess de Mistura’s actions to move toward the settlement via the so-called ‘local freezings’,” he said.
“We actively support that initiative. He intends to begin his activities in Aleppo and then move forward,” Lavrov said, adding that he hopes the efforts will help avoid new deaths.