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Russian envoy says Moscow and Damascus interested in success of Astana talks

GENEVA, May 3. /TASS/. The delivery of relief aid to eastern Goutha and the assistance to this operation provided by Russian military personnel from the Hmeymim center for the reconciliation of warring factions, carried out on the eve of the international meeting on Syria in Astana is clear evidence Moscow and Damascus are sincerely interested in the success of the Astana talks and the readiness to take confidence-building measures, Russia’s representative at the UN office and other international organizations in Geneva, Aleksey Borodavkin, told TASS on Wednesday.

"Russia is doing its utmost to ensure Syrian civilians regularly receive foods and essentials," he said. "The delivery of a large batch of relief supplies to Douma - a suburb held by armed groups - on the eve of the international meeting on Syria in Astana is a clear sign Russia and the Syrian government are sincerely interested in the success of the Astana negotiations and prepared to take unilateral confidence-building measures. It is to be hoped the opposition and its sponsors will follow suit and promote the activity of humanitarian agencies in Syria instead of putting forward preconditions."

Relief supplies for 35,000 Syrians were delivered to eastern Goutha from the United Nations, the International Red Cross Committee and the Syrian Red Crescent Society on Tuesday evening. A convoy of 51 trucks delivered the cargo to Douma.

"From the very beginning of preparations for this humanitarian operation Russian diplomats and military personnel and their UN counterparts scrutinized every detail in real time mode. Officers from the reconciliation center at Hmeymim played a major role in bringing the convoy to its destination," Borodavkin said.

The fourth round of intra-Syrian talks began in Astana on Wednesday. A full-scale meeting is due on Thursday. Taking part in the consultations are delegations from the countries that act as guarantors of truce (Russia, Turkey and Iran) and also officials from the United Nations, Jordan, the United States, the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition.