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Multilateral talks on Syria move to London

October 16, 3:40 UTC+3 LONDON
A source in a Western delegation told TASS that the meeting will focus on "decreasing levels of violence in Syria and improving humanitarian access"
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

LONDON, October 16. /TASS/. Talks on the situation in Syria that finished on Saturday evening in Lausanne without any considerable success are now moving to the British capital. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said earlier that US State Secretary John Kerry will arrive in London on Sunday. Representatives of Germany, France and Italy are also expected to participate in the meeting on Syria.

A diplomatic source told TASS that "key international partners in the region" plan to join talks as well. No further details on participants were provided. A source in a Western delegation told TASS that the meeting will focus on "decreasing levels of violence in Syria and improving humanitarian access."

Directly from Switzerland

Kerry will arrive in London directly from Switzerland where a meeting on Syrian settlement was held on Saturday with participation of foreign ministers of Russia, US, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

The talks did not result in any concrete agreements. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that several ideas were discussed that may influence the situation in the country ravaged by the civil war for the last five years. "We agreed to continue contacts in the next few days with hope of reaching agreements that will promote settlement," Lavrov said.

There is a possibility that some details of what was discussed behind closed doors in Lausanne on Saturday will emerge after the meeting in London. However, the UK Foreign Office has not announced any press conference, briefing or statement for the press.

Operation in Aleppo

Current multilateral talks — in Lausanne and London — are taking place against the backdrop of the Syrian government forces’ military operation in Aleppo and toughening Western rhetoric toward Russia and Syria. After the UN Security Council failed to adopt either French or Russian draft resolution on the situation around Aleppo, accusations re-emerged against Russia of delivering airstrikes at civilian facilities in the city.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that according to leaks from the United States, Washington plans to deliver airstrikes at the Syrian territory controlled by government forces.

At the same time, de Mistura said that around 900 militants from the Jebhat al-Nusra group (banned in Russia) remain in East Aleppo. The UN envoy proposed to pull them out under the UN auspices, but his initiative has not been developed yet.

Aleppo still remains on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. Due to the disruption of Russian-US agreements from September 9, the demilitarized zone failed to be ensured on the Castello road by which humanitarian aid is delivered to the city.

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