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Russia calls for holding four-party meeting on Syria as soon as possible, diplomat says

Mikhail Bogdanov pointed out that Russia was currently refining a roadmap on normalizing relations between Ankara and Damascus

MOSCOW, September 20. /TASS/. Moscow calls for holding a four-party meeting on normalizing Syria-Turkey relations in the nearest possible future, Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister, told TASS.

"No date has been set yet but we believe - and we have said this to our friends in Damascus, Ankara and, naturally, in Tehran - that we have no time to lose and need to act as quickly as possible, moving forward in that direction because it is the right direction," he said, when asked if there were plans to hold a four-party meeting.

However, the diplomat pointed out that Russia was currently refining a roadmap on normalizing relations between Ankara and Damascus. "In Astana, we presented a draft that we had developed. However, there has to be a common document and it needs to be based on consensus. The roadmap should suit everyone. When we put forward our draft in Astana, discussions began and various positions and interpretations followed, which was natural. This is why, again, we took the responsibility to refine the roadmap, considering all the comments that had been made at our meeting in Astana. This is what we are doing now," Bogdanov noted. "If some additional ideas have occurred to our Iranian partners, we certainly expect them to share those with us so that the roadmap is our common product," he added.

The first four-party meeting on Syria, which involved the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran, took place in Moscow on May 10. The top diplomats decided to instruct their deputies to prepare a roadmap on relations between Damascus and Ankara. The parties discussed a draft roadmap at the June 20-21 Astana group meeting on Syria, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said. He added that the document required further processing.