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Russian diplomat says Geneva intra-Syrian talks prove effectiveness of Astana meetings

The Russian deputy foreign minister also said that experts would continue contacts aimed at implementing the memorandum signed in Astana

MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. The recent round of the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva has proved the effectives of the work aimed at reducing violence in Syria which was carried out in Astana, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.

"I don’t see any issues with the implementation of the memorandum signed in Astana if we do not take into consideration the position of our US counterparts, which is ideologically-based to a certain extent as they are unwilling to recognize Iran as a guarantor of the memorandum," he added. "Of course, in light of the complex situation in Syria, there are sure to be some rough edges, but that does not mean that the document needs to be reviewed."

"On the contrary, the sixth round of the intra-Syrian talks sponsored by (United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan) de Mistura has proved that in fact, no one questions the effectiveness of the Astana process, as well as its productivity," the Russian diplomat said.

The Russian deputy foreign minister also said that experts would continue contacts aimed at implementing the memorandum. "We consider the memorandum to be an effective tool which can be used to stabilize the situation and strengthen the ceasefire," Ryabkov noted.

Memorandum on de-escalation zones

During the May 4 meeting in the Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana, Russia, Iran and Turkey signed a memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria.

De-escalation zones have been established in four areas, including the Idlib Governorate, some parts of its neighboring areas in the Latakia, Hama and Aleppo Governorates north of the city of Homs, eastern Ghouta, as well as the Daraa and al-Quneitra Governorates in southern Syria.

Starting from May 6, military activities and aircraft flights in the de-escalation zones are banned. At the same time, Russia, Iran and Turkey have agreed to take all the necessary measures to continue fighting against terrorists on these territories and in the rest of Syria. Russia’s Defense Ministry stressed that the signing of the memorandum did not mean that the fight against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terror groups would end.

The memorandum will remain in effect for six months and could be automatically extended for another six months.