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Astana format should discuss Syria’s de-escalation, Russian envoy says

An envoy says Moscow supports Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity

MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Issues concerning de-escalation zones in Syria should be tackled in the Astana format, and Moscow is in favor of supporting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and African Countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Monday.

"There is the Astana format, with the underwriters states [discussing] the operation of the de-escalation zones," he said, answering a question on Turkey’s intention to launch an operation in Idlib after Afrin. "I think that all these issues are being discussed chiefly by our military. The war on terror continues to remain a priority for all Astana format participants, but we also support the observance of agreements on the de-escalation zones and the principles of preserving Syria’s territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty."

Asked about whether the agreements on the de-escalation zones may be extended, Bogdanov said yes. "Of course, it is possible. Life will show how to act further," he said. "We’ve always stressed that this measure on the establishment of the de-escalation zones is temporary and is aimed at creating more favorable conditions for a political settlement that is to secure the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254."