Russian top diplomat says ceasefire deal in Syria open to all except IS and Nusra Front

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

ABU DHABI, February 1. /TASS/. The ceasefire agreement in Syria is open to all those who may wish to join it, except for the terrorist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, outlawed in Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the fourth session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum on Wednesday.

He remarked that the meeting in Astana was aimed at starting a process of direct negotiations and to create the most favorable conditions for that, including a ceasefire.

“The ceasefire is open to all armed groups that may decide to join it, but, naturally, not to the Islamic State and Nusra, whatever it may be called,” Lavrov said. “Several days before the beginning of the meeting in Astana two groups from the southern front joined the talks. Our friends in Jordan proved very helpful in that respect. We do hope that the number of groups that will join the agreements will keep growing.”

“As we have said, the declaration of the plans for a meeting in Astana served as a reminder to our friends at the United Nations to recall that their business is negotiations. So they set a date,” Lavrov said. “For some reason they have already moved it from February 8 to the end of the month.”

“We do hope that such postponements will be few,” he concluded.

Moscow also expects Washington to specify the issue of safe zones in Syria.

Russia-US cooperation on Syria

Russia wants to establish a full-fledged and regular dialogue with the United States on Syria:

“We are ready for discussions, talks, ready to hear assessments and ideas that the new US administration will have,” Lavrov said.

“As soon as the leadership of the US Department of State is completely formed, I’m convinced that we’ll enter into contact and establish a full-fledged regular dialogue,” the Russian foreign minister said.

“I’m convinced that the dialogue will be aimed at achieving pragmatic results, at calming down the situation and assisting the settlement in Syria, Libya, Yemen and in other parts of the region and that the dialog will not be dictated by deeply ideologized motives – be it democratizationism or something like that,” the Russian foreign minister said.

 

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