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French top diplomat supports contacts between Astana format and ‘small group’ on Syria

MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. In a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian supported the development of contacts between the Astana format and the "small group" (the UK, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the US and France) on Syria, according to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

"Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke in favor of better contacts between the Astana format and the so-called small group on Syria targeting ‘a search for common denominators,’" the ministry said in the statement. "The Russian side confirmed the readiness to cooperate in the interests of the Syrian settlement without attempts to artificially drag out the UN functions in the political process."

The ministers "discussed the development of the situation in Syria and around it in detail with focus on the prospects of launching a constitutional committee." Lavrov told Le Drian about "Russia’s efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria, including providing humanitarian support, and stressed Russia’s readiness to promote the political process based on UNSC Resolution 2254 and the decision of the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue," the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.