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Lavrov says Russia is waiting for US to specify safe zones in Syria

Russian top diplomat says Moscow is ready to consider Washington’s proposals for settling Syrian crisis

MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. Russia expects the United States to specify the initiative of creating safe zones in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"We touched upon this theme during my meeting with [US Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson in Bonn on February 16," the minister said.

"The American side said work on this concept is currently under way," Lavrov said.

"We’ll wait for additional specifications," Russia’s top diplomat said. 

Moscow is ready to consider Washington’s proposals concerning cooperation in Syria, Lavrov added:

"Basically, we are ready to consider all other proposals concerning our cooperation in Syria."

"We hope that US President Donald Trump is really interested in bilateral cooperation aimed at solving the Syrian crisis like the White House press secretary said," Lavrov added. 

All US proposals on the formation of safe zones in Syria must be discussed and agreed upon with the Syrian authorities:

"We undoubtedly stand for coordination with the Syrian authorities of all initiatives of such nature, which concern the territories of Syria, otherwise it would be probably uneasy implementing these or other steps," Lavrov stressed.

The Kurds 

Moscow believes it necessary to engage the Kurds in the next rounds of the intra-Syrian talks, Russian foreign minister said. 

"Of course, it is necessary that all groups of the Syrian opposition, including the Syrian Kurds, take part in the next rounds of talks," he said.  

"We have been constantly pointing to the need to implement the UN Security Council’s decisions and ensure the participation of all the opposition groups," he said. "Without the Kurds, it will be impossible."

The intra-Syrian talks are scheduled to begin in Geneva on February 23. The office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has not officially announced the participant list, however, a delegation of the Syrian government as well as delegations of the opposition groups based in Riyadh, Moscow and Cairo are expected to take part in the meeting.