The establishment of a fifth de-escalation zone in Syria is being discussed in the framework of the Astana peace talks, Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Sputnik.

“As for the establishment of a new de-escalation zone, it remains in the focus of Astana meetings,” Bogdanov said.

Bogdanov went on to say that the Syrian constitutional reform will be discussed during the next round of the talks, saying “there is the need to talk on the coordination of efforts on support and shifting to the implementation of the agreements, reached during the Syrian National Dialogue in Sochi.”

Moscow believes that it is very important that the Astana talks participants address the humanitarian aspects of the Syrian crisis settlement, he pointed out.

“Among them is the issue of strengthening trust between the Syrian sides. Particularly, the working group on the issue of those detained and arrested has been created,” the diplomat noted.

Commenting on the Astana talks, the diplomat noted that the results of the previous summits were impressive especially what concerned the establishment of a ceasefire regime and de-escalation zones.

“There is a necessity to maintain and continue the application of this tool to promote and restore peace in Syria via political settlement… The Astana format is not substituting the Geneva process, but compliments and stimulates it,” Bogdanov pointed out.

Since the beginning of the Astana talks, four de-escalation zones have been established in Syria, namely, in Idlib and parts of neighboring Latakia, Hama, and Aleppo provinces; in the north of the central Homs province; in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus and in certain parts of the country’s southern Daraa and Quneitra provinces.
Bogdanov has said the next round of Astana talks will take place soon but hasn’t specified the date.

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