Russian FM, UN special envoy call for intra-Syrian talks

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Moscow, Nov 25 (IANS) Progress has been made in achieving a political settlement in Syria and it is urgent to advance the process of intra-Syrian negotiation, representatives of Russia and the United Nations said on Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov exchanged views with visiting UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura about the latest international contacts on the Syrian issue and its possible political settlement, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Xinhua news agency reported.

On Wednesday, presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to continue their joint efforts to facilitate a possible transition to a political settlement in Syria and restore peace and stability to the war-torn country.

“Particular emphasis was placed on the importance of building up international efforts to launch a comprehensive intra-Syrian negotiation process with the leading role of the United Nations based on the UN Security Council resolution 2254,” a ministry statement said.

The two sides agreed to maintain close contact on the whole complex of Syrian issues, it added.

Later on Friday, the UN special envoy talked with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in a separate meeting and they discussed the organization of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress.

De Mistura said Russia has made many efforts to create the basis for the political settlement of the Syrian crisis.

They agreed that it is necessary to “arrange a political dialogue as soon as possible” as well as organise and conduct a political settlement process in Syria.

The Syrian National Dialogue Congress, proposed by Moscow in late October at Astana talks in Kazakhstan for Syrian settlement, is expected to bring together opposition and pro-government forces, as well as representatives of all Syrian ethnic and religious groups to work for the peace process in the country.

The date and participants of the congress have not been confirmed yet.

–IANS

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