Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expects the next round of consultations on Syria in Astana to yield good results, just like the previous ones.
“As for the question whether or not we expect a breakthrough at the next Astana round, that depends on what should be considered a breakthrough. The latest meeting was very specific,” Lavrov said on Friday following talks with his Kazakhstani counterpart Kairat Abdrakhmanov. “It specified the parameters of the de-escalation zones, primarily in Idlib, which is, perhaps, the most difficult. Five documents, purely practical ones aimed at specific steps on the ground, were signed by the guarantor countries with the participation of representatives of the government and the opposition. They regulate the operation of the de-escalation zones and the issues related to humanitarian aid and dialogue in light of the emerging national reconciliation.”
“Can this be considered a breakthrough?” Lavrov went on to say. “I personally believe that this should not necessarily be described using some lofty words, but this is a very good specific result. I am confident that the next meeting in Astana, just like the previous ones, will be productive as well with the help of our Kazakhstani hosts.”
“We believe it would be useful to extend the number of observer states and we welcome discussion on this issue,” he said. The minister stressed that even “without formalization of participation in the [Astana] process, many [countries] are already making useful contribution to success of this initiative.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov earlier said that the next round of the Astana talks on Syria will be held on October 30-31.