MOSCOW, January 20. /TASS/. Preparations for the Syria settlement talks in Kazakhstan’s Astana were in focus of a meeting between Russian president’s envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Syrian Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad, the Russian foreign ministry said on Friday.
"The sides discussed arrange of issues related to the preparations for and holding of an international meeting on the Syrian settlement in Astana on January 23 with a focus on the necessity to ensure its maximal efficiency," the ministry said.
The meeting was initiated by the Syrian ambassador.
Astana will host talks on the situation in Syria on January 23. It is yet unknown who will take part in the negotiations. It is expected that participants will include representatives of the Syrian government army and armed opposition groups. The talks are to focus on issues of maintaining ceasefire throughout the country. Plans to hold consultations in Astana were announced after a meeting between Russia’s, Turkey’s and Iran’s foreign minister in Moscow on December 20, 2016. The three ministers spoke in favor of a nationwide ceasefire in Syria.