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UN hopeful Astana meetings to help launch Geneva process

Moscow "expresses readiness to provide any assistance to them," the head of the Russian delegation at Astans talks said

ASTANA, February 15. /TASS/. The United Nations is hopeful that Astana talks will help relaunch the Geneva process, Alexander Lavrentyev, head of the Russian delegation at the talks and presidential special envoy for Syria, said on Wednesday.

"Today, we have also had substantive dialogue with the UN delegation," Lavrentyev said. "They are considering the Astana format as main part of the intra-Syrian settlement and are hoping for good results that will help to relaunch a political process in Geneva."

Russia "expresses readiness to provide any assistance to them," he said. A meeting is Astana was held in the run-up to the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, postponed until February 23.

"UN Special Envoy [for Syria] Staffan de Mistura has taken a decision to move the date of intra-Syrian meeting in Geneva from February 20 to February 23," Lavrentyev said.

Earlier in the day, participants in the international meeting on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital held preparatory consultations in the run-up to the international conference on Syria scheduled for February 16. Control over the ceasefire and prospects for intra-Syrian consultations in Geneva were in focus of the consultations.

Astana will host representatives of Russia, Iran and Turkey (guarantors of the truce) alongside representatives from Jordan, the US and UN. Delegations of official Damascus and armed opposition are due to attend it as well.