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Astana meeting on Syria adopts document on trilateral ceasefire group

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy called the Astana talks "an important event"

MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. A document adopted at the Astana talks on a joint trilateral group to monitor the ceasefire in Syria and facilitate the elaboration of confidence-building measures among the warring sides has been the main result of the meeting in the Kazakh capital, a senior Russian diplomat said on Thursday.

Russian Foreign Ministry Special Envoy for the Mideast Settlement and Director of the Department of the Middle East and North Africa Sergei Vershinin made this statement during a Moscow-Damascus-Astana video link on the negotiations in the Kazakh capital and the prospects of the inter-Syrian settlement.

"A specific result of what has taken place in Astana is the adoption of a provision on a joint group to comprise Russia, Iran and Turkey," the diplomat said.

"It will work on a regular basis to maintain and consolidate the ceasefire," he added.

"Moreover, its activity will also be technical but, undoubtedly, it will bring big effect from the viewpoint of improving the situation in the country and around the country because it [the group] will also work on observing the ceasefire and terminating its violations from any side and ensuring that confidence-building measures are created and strengthened and other tasks are solved to contribute to inter-Syrian talks under the UN aegis based on the UN Security Council Resolution 2254," the senior diplomat said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy called the Astana talks "an important event."

"Another important step has been made: it has become possible to bring together in one hall the representatives of the Syrian government and the armed opposition that has accepted the terms of the ceasefire from December 30 last year in Syria," he explained.

"No doubt, the negotiations are uneasy. We understand that much distrust remains among the Syrian sides and much still has to be done but these are no doubt encouraging results and we’ll seek to ensure that such a level of interaction is increased," the senior Russian diplomat said.