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Russian and U.S. Delegations Meet on Sidelines of Astana Syrian Negotiation

Sept. 14, 2017 (EIRNS)—The delegations from Russia and United States met on the sidelines of the Syria talks now being held in Astana, Kazakhstan, according to TASS today. A source told TASS that the Russian delegation had already met with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. No details of the meetings were released.

The Russian delegation is led by Special Presidential Representative for resolving the Syrian crisis Alexander Lavrentyev, while the U.S. delegation is headed by Acting Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield, the highest-level delegate the U.S. has sent to these talks so far.

Sputnik reports that the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Egypt, Iraq, and China may become observers of the Astana process at the next meeting in October. The guarantors of the process have been Russia, Iran, and Turkey. The United States and Jordan already have observer status.

"We are discussing the extension of the observer states. There are requests coming from various states. The process of Syria’s restoration needs to be launched, countries need to invest money into it.... There are proposals to include the U.A.E., Egypt, Iraq and China,"

the source said.

Alexander Lavrentyev told reporters that an agreement on the creation of the fourth and last Syrian safe zone in the Idlib province was very close to fulfillment. "We are very close to the signing of an agreement on the establishment of all four de-escalation zones, but I won’t assess this event so far," he said.

"I’d like to stress that everyone wants peace to be established on Syrian soil. And everyone realizes, understands and welcomes the entire work that is being done for establishment of the de-escalation zones,"

the diplomat said.

Russia, Iran and Turkey, the three guarantors of the Astana process over Syria, will be involved in control of the de-escalation zone in Idlib, said Lavrentyev. "Participation of monitors from all three guarantor states - Russia, Turkey and Iran is envisaged."

"This meeting in Astana is final for establishment of de-escalation zones, but the Astana process will continue, because we still have a lot of problems and issues that are to be addressed in the Syrian settlement," he said.