PARIS, January 8. /TASS/. France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche hailed the upcoming talks on Syria due in Kazakhstan’s capital.
"As the defense minister I consider the main threat, against which fighting should be in Syria, is the Islamic State group (outlawed in Russia - TASS)," he said in the interview published on Sunday. "However, nobody can see indifferently the suffering of the Syrian civilians. Now, the parties will meet for talks in Astana; there has been an attempt for ceasefire. I hope all that will work to ease sufferings of the local people."
However, he continued, "we have to consider the current situation quite skeptically, as the ceasefire regime is not stable and has been violated many times."
On January 4, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the talks on the settlement of the Syrian armed conflict will begin in Astana, Kazakhstan, on January 23. The Turkish foreign minister also said that Russian experts would arrive in Turkey on January 9-10 to discuss the forthcoming inter-Syrian consultations in the capital of Kazakhstan.
In mid-December, Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev holding in Astana a meeting between the warring parties to the Syrian armed conflict.
Nazarbayev approved this idea, saying his country "supports from the outset the international efforts aimed at peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria.".