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Military operations in Syria affecting negotiation process, diplomat warns

GENEVA, April 26. /TASS/. Any military operations are affecting the process of peaceful settlement in Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Wednesday.

The Russian diplomat thus commented on Turkey’s strike against Kurds in Iraq and Syria overnight to April 25.

"Naturally, any military operations are negatively affecting the general situation and the negotiation process, in particular," the deputy foreign minister said.

Gatilov added he didn’t know whether Turkey had informed Russia of this military operation in advance.

Overnight to April 25, the Turkish warplanes delivered a strike against targets of Kurdistan Workers’ Party recognized as a terrorist organization in the country, in the Sinjar Mountains region in northern Iraq and in Karachok Mountains in northeast Syria.

As the Turkish General Staff reported, "40 members of the terrorist separatist organization [the Kurdistan Workers’ Party] were neutralized in Iraq and 30 in Syria."

De Mistura's possible visit to Russia

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is interested in visiting Moscow, the dates for his visit will be discussed after the Astana talks scheduled for early May, Gatilov said. 

"We have discussed this matter with him, he was interested in visiting Moscow," the Russian diplomat added.

Gatilov pointed out that Russia had been encouraging de Mistura to ensure the participation of high-level representatives on his team in the Astana meeting. "De Mistura answered that his team members were sure to take part in the meeting, only he had not decided yet about the level of participation," Gatilov noted.

He pointed out that Russian diplomats had been maintaining contacts with the UN envoy. On April 24, Gatilov himself met with de Mistura. "We discussed the current state of the Syrian settlement… It was a useful exchange of views as we need to understand where we are now and what steps should be taken," he said.

According to the Russian diplomat, the UN envoy "pins high hopes on the Astana meeting expecting that we will be able to come to practical agreements and approve the documents that experts have been working on."