MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. The next round of the Astana talks on Syria is set for October 30-31, and an opposition meeting may take place in Riyadh ahead of it, in mid-October, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS on Wednesday.
"There are several factors here. There is a proposal from Saudi Arabia to hold an opposition meeting in Riyadh that they initially planned for mid-October. Its goal is to consolidate the opposition delegation," Gatilov said.
"Secondly, these are [the talks in] Astana [set for] October 30-31. [The talks in] Geneva have not been determined yet by [Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria Staffan] de Mistura," he noted. "It’s all up to him: whether to hold it [the meeting in Geneva] ahead of [the meeting in] Astana or after it, that’s his decision," the Russian deputy foreign minister stressed.
The sixth round of the Astana talks on peace settlement in Syria took place in mid-September at Moscow’s initiative. Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a memorandum to establish four de-escalation zones: in the Idlib Governorate, north of Homs, in Eastern Ghouta and in southern Syria. Russian military police posts were set up between these zones and check points were established for the country’s residents who are coming back to their homeland and want to visit their relatives. All transport vehicles are thoroughly checked, and people crossing zone borders are examined in search of disguised terrorists. The seventh round of consultations in Astana is expected to focus on effective operation of de-escalation zones.