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UN Envoy De Mistura Briefed on Sochi Summit in Moscow

Nov. 25, 2017 (EIRNS)—UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura was in Moscow yesterday, where he had meetings with both Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry readout, Lavrov and de Mistura "had a thorough exchange of opinions on a wide range of problems related to the Syrian settlement." Lavrov briefed De Mistura on the recent meetings in Sochi, including the trilateral summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Particular emphasis was placed on the importance of enhancing international efforts aimed at promoting comprehensive intra-Syrian talks, with a leading role played by the United Nations and on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254,"

the statement said.

"Mr. De Mistura, for his part, praised Russia’s efforts aimed at resolving the situation in Syria and shared his assessment of the consultations held by the Syrian opposition in Riyadh, which he attended."

The Defense Ministry statement reported that Shoigu wanted "to exchange views and try to develop extra measures to pave way for dialogue between opposition and the government in Damascus. But the most important thing is to start political process, political dialogue which is badly needed, taking into account that 98% of the Syrian territory has been liberated from terrorists. Now it is time for next steps to settle the Syrian crisis."

To this end, Shoigu and De Mistura "discussed steps and motivation for development of the reconciliation process between official Damascus and the opposition." Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin told Tass afterwards that

"the most important thing the sides agreed on is that it is necessary to swiftly establish political dialogue and organize the process of political settlement in Syria."

De Mistura has said little publicly, so far, of his meetings in Moscow, beyond reporting that they were "useful." He is now in the midst of final preparations for the next round of the peace talks in Geneva, which are set to begin on Nov. 28.