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Astana meeting on Syria to focus on de-escalation zones — Lavrov

The round of talks on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana is scheduled for July 4-5
Damaged buildings in Aleppo, Syria AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
Damaged buildings in Aleppo, Syria
© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. The round of talks on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on July 4-5 will be devoted to the concept of creating de-escalation zones, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

"The round, due to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital, will be devoted - as agreed by the guarantor-countries - to specifying the concept approved at the May 4 round - the concept of setting up de-escalation zones on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic," Lavrov said. "The concept needs detailed elaboration." Now all details are being discussed at the level of technical experts, he said.

"A significant decline in military activities and violence has been recorded in the relevant areas of Syria," the Russian top diplomat said adding that it was the result of the declaration of de-escalation zones. "I hope that the next round of the Astana talks will positively affect our common efforts aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis and facilitate the UN-sponsored talks that are planned to be held in Geneva after the Astana meeting, in the first half of July," Lavrov pointed out.

"The impression, based on the experience of fighting terrorism in Syria, is that the US-led coalition and its allied countries are sheltering the so-called Jabhat Al-Nusra, or whatever it is called now," he said. "We have seen new proofs Jabhat Al-Nusra in its new mold is being shielded from strikes."

"We consider it a very dangerous game, which must be stopped, and whatever double standards, back thoughts or hidden plans should be put aside for the sake of uncompromised fight against terrorism," Lavrov said.

"Our position is that the only solution for this crucial situation is to form a truly international anti-terrorist front, for which our President Vladimir Putin has called," he continued. "However, formation of that front is suspended by those who would still want to ‘fish in troubled waters’ and to speculate on the obligatory elimination of the terror threat as a key priority of the international community."