Moscow expects that the upcoming meeting on Syria in Kazakh capital Astana will boost a peace process in Geneva, a senior Russian diplomat said on Tuesday.
“Several resolutions in support of this process were passed by the UN Security Council,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said. “Technical-level meetings were organized. Literally today, Astana will host another meeting with the participation of delegations of the Syrian government and representatives of armed groups. Hopefully this process will make it possible to boost the Geneva process,” the diplomat said.
“We consider the situation developing on the ground in Syria and discussion in Astana as a kind of a springboard, a platform for continuation of the intra-Syrian dialog in Geneva,” Gatilov said.
He said “representatives from the armed groups that are fighting directly in Syria, offering resistance to government troops” have been also attracted within the framework of Russia-initiated “Astana process”.
“It is clear that some decisions will hardly be hammered out without the participation of the main players,” the diplomat noted.
“Representatives of Mr. de Mistura (UN Special Envoy for Syria) will also be present in Astana,” he said. “We by no means separate the United Nations from this process,” he marked.
“The talks on Syria in Astana have prompted the UN to announce the beginning of the next round of the intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva,” the diplomat said speaking at the annual International Model UN conference on Tuesday. “It can be held after February 20.”
“We hope it will take place as planned,” he added.
The last round of the intra-Syrian negotiations held in Geneva from April 13 to April 27, 2016, ended without results. De Mistura expected to resume consultations in May, but the talks were repeatedly delayed. The beginning of the next round of negotiations on Syria in Geneva is scheduled for February 20.
Russia’s delegation to the Syria meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital on February 15-16 will be led by president’s special envoy for the Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentyev.