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Diplomat says Astana talks may help create better environment for peace process in Syria

The Russian diplomat has praised Astana talks' positive contribution to the Syrian peace settlement

MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. Presence of the United States’ and Jordan’s representatives at the international meeting on Syria in Astana and support from United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura made it possible to create favorable environment for progress in political settlement, a senior official at the Russian foreign ministry said following the talks in Astana.

"All this, to my mind, creates favorable environment for promoting political process in Syria and all of us want it to be successful," Sergey Vershinin, Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for the Middle East settlement and director of the ministry’s Middle East and North Africa department, said. 

"We rely on the stance Russia has always been sticking to: it is up to the Syrian people to decide the future of their homeland, and this is applicable to absolutely all aspects of the current situation," he said.

"I think we can say that the Astana process, the Astana format, really makes a good and positive contribution to general efforts of the entire international community, including in what concerns the resolution of the top priority task of fighting against terrorism, either in Syria or in the Middle East or in the entire world," he said, adding he was sure the current Astana meeting would be useful also from the point of prospects for the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

The talks are due to begin "in several days under the United Nations’ auspices and on the basis of the documents we are being guided by in what concerns political settlement in Syria."