ASTANA, June 21. /TASS/. The Astana format on Syria has proved to be effective and will remain operational, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said.
"The current Astana format will remain operational. It has proved its viability, while the international community’s so-called efforts to resolve the Syria issue stalled," he pointed out at a press conference following the 20th International Meeting on Syria in the Astana Format.
Lavrentyev emphasized that the Astana format was "only formally associated with a place because the Kazakh leadership had agreed to host international meetings involving a group of three guarantee nations, observers from a number of countries - namely Syria’s neighbors, including Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan - as well as officials from international organizations, primarily the United Nations secretary general’s Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir Pedersen," the Russian diplomat added.
Lavrentyev stressed that Russia appreciated Kazakhstan’s hospitality as the country kept hosting the group’s meetings for six and a half years. He noted that 18 of the 20 meetings took place in Astana, while two were held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.