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Moscow backs UN initiative on al-Nusra’s withdrawal from east Aleppo

A Russian diplomat stresses the Moscow-Washington contacts on Syria are going on constantly
UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura EPA/MARTIAL TREZZINI
UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. Moscow backs the UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s idea of the withdrawal of Jabhat al-Nusra (terrorist group outlawed in Russia) from east Aleppo, Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS on Thursday.

"It’s high time this is done. We’ll see if the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura’s idea is met with positive response," he said. "He puts forward his ideas, his suggestions." "His main goal is to establish an inclusive and sustained intra-Syrian dialogue under the auspices of the UN," Bogdanov added.

Earlier on Thursday, de Mistura suggested that consultations be held on Jabhat al-Nusra’s withdrawal of militants from east Aleppo. The UN special envoy believes this could help end hostilities in this part of the city so that civilians could get access to humanitarian aid. According to de Mistura, about 900 Jabhat al-Nusra militants are active in east Aleppo.

Russia-US contacts 

Bogdanov noted that contacts with the US on Syria are going on constantly, no one cancelled the Russian-US agreements and no one withdrew from them.

"The contacts are going on permanently. (Russian) Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talks with (US Secretary of State) John Kerry over the phone almost daily," he said. "As for military contacts, this question should be addressed to the military. There is no alternative to cooperation, information exchange, coordination of our steps to effectively combat extremists."

When asked about the September 9 agreements with the US, Bogdanov noted that no one cancelled them and no one withdrew from them. "One should look attentively at what the Americans said and interpret these statements correctly," he said. "I believe they do not want to slam the door in terms of all the contacts. They do not say that they will not resume (the agreements - TASS)."

"That is why John Kerry calls Sergey Lavrov," he added.

Intra-Syrian dialogue

Bogdanov and one of the leaders of the Syrian opposition Popular Front for Change and Liberation Qadri Jamil discussed the situation in Syria on Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry has reported.

"During the conversation, the parties exchanges views on the situation in Syria, which has recently been presented by the leading Western and a number of regional media in a biased manner, above all, in regard to the humanitarian aspect of the Syrian crisis," the ministry said.

"It was emphasized that there is no alternative in resolving the Syrian crisis to launching a comprehensive political process," the Russian Foreign Ministry noted. "To that end, early resumption of the inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue without preconditions under UN auspices in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 is needed."