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Astana process on Syria considers involving new members: Russian representative
The Astana process was considering involving new members to join the peace talks on Syria, a Russian envoy said here on Thursday.
China, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Kazakhstan can be admitted to participate in the Astana process as observers and join the peace talks at the next meeting in October, said Alexander Lavrentiev, special representative of Russian President on the Syrian settlement, at the sixth international meeting on Syria in Astana.
Lavrentiev highlighted that the basis of the Astana process was the work of the three guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey, which will supervise and ensure ceasefire in the de-escalation zones in Syria.
The three countries have already established a Tripartite Committee for that, said Lavrentiev at a briefing about the meeting which started on Wednesday.
Lavrentiev also said that Russian military police will be deployed in the fourth and last de-escalation zone in Syria, namely in Syria's northern province of Idlib.
"We are talking about the units of Russian military police, which have already been deployed in a number of the de-escalation zones," Lavrentiev said, adding that if any third country proposes to use of its military contingents, the guarantor countries are ready to consider that.
The ideas of establishing de-escalation zones took shape in May when three guarantor countries signed a memorandum at the fourth meeting on Syria in Astana.
So far, three zones of de-escalation have been established in Syria, and the establishment of the fourth one in Idlib province, is reportedly the spotlight of the three-day sixth meeting on Syria in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital.
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Jaber Ansari, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Syria Staffan De Mistura, as well as representatives from the United States, Jordan and the Syrian armed opposition also attended the meeting.
[Source: Xinhua, Astana, 14Sep17]
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