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Postponing Syrian talks in Geneva not discussed at meeting with de Mistura — diplomat

November 14, 23:43 UTC+3

Gatilov added that Moscow does not set a goal for itself to replace the pan-Syrian talks in Geneva

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov

© Dmitry Serebryakov/TASS

GENEVA, November 14. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters on Tuesday that the issue of putting off the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva was not discussed during his meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

"During our consultations, de Mistura confirmed that the next round [of the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva] will be held on November 28," Gatilov said answering a question from a TASS correspondent. "This date remains fixed, we did not discuss putting the meeting off."

"We familiarized De Mistura in detail with the forthcoming Congress, an event that we hope to host in the first days of December," Gatilov said. "We also answered his questions and told him about how we viewed the gathering."

"It will help coordinate steps together with UN officials on the track of political settlement in Syria."

"We expressed mutual confidence this inspired hope for a revival of political process that had been stalled for a long time," Gatilov said. "It was in the deadlock for quite a long time and now it will make a constitutive contribution to the cause or political settlement."

He said De Mistura had perceived Russia’s initiative for convening the Syrian National Dialogue Congress with understanding and said he would familiarize the Secretary General with it, after which they would take a decision on the level of their participation in it.

Gatilov also said the Congress would certainly take up several days.

"It’s too early yet to discuss it now but I think several days will be needed," he said.

He added that Moscow does not set a goal for itself to replace the pan-Syrian talks in Geneva.

"We support the Geneva negotiations and that’s why we don’t set a goal for ourselves to replace this format in one way or another," he said. "The things implemented in the Astana format. The things already taking place in the framework of Astana or the Syrian National Dialogue Congress are mutually compatible steps but all of them aim to revive the political process.".

Initially, the eighth round of talks on Syria in Geneva was planned for September, however de Mistura told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that most likely the meeting will take place in October.

On October 26, the UN envoy told the UN Security Council that the start of a new round of talks between Damascus and the opposition in Geneva was set for November 28.

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