Moscow believes Astana talks on Syria successful

Moscow, Jan 25 (IANS) Talks in Kazakhstan over the Syrian crisis have been successful, with an outcome that will facilitate a political settlement in the war-torn country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

“The results are extremely important as they take the settlement efforts to a qualitatively new level,” Lavrov told the State Duma — the lower house of parliament, Xinhua reported.

He said Russia has invited representatives from the Syrian political opposition to a meeting in Moscow on Friday to brief them about the Astana talks.

The Kremlin also hailed the talks as paving the way for the resumption of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Of course, it is a success. Substantial support has been provided for the Geneva process,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency.

The Syrian talks were held in Astana on Monday and Tuesday, with Russia, Turkey and Iran as guarantors.

Staffan de Mistura, a special United Nations envoy, also participated in the meeting, while the US ambassador to Kazakhstan was present as an observer.

In Astana, a direct contact was established between the Syrian government and armed groups of the opposition, Lavrov told the State Duma.

The participants reached consensus that the Syrian crisis has no military solution. “I believe it essential that the armed opposition agreed to this,” Lavrov said.

The armed opposition had agreed “in principle” to join the Syrian army and the Russian Airspace Force to launch strikes against the Islamic State, he added.

In addition, Russia, Iran and Turkey promised in Astana to create a trilateral committee to monitor truce violations in Syria on a daily basis.