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Russia, US military experts, diplomats to discuss Aleppo in Geneva on Dec. 10 — Lavrov

Russia's and US' military experts and diplomats will meet in Geneva on December 10 to discuss the situation in Aleppo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

The minister said he had had a telephone conversation and two meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Hamburg. "An agreement was reached to organize a meeting between military experts and diplomats in Geneva on Saturday to ultimately finalize the work that has been conducted sporadically these days on a document outlining ways and methods of the final resolution of the Eastern Aleppo problem by means of withdrawing all militants and those civilians who want to do that," he said. "Concrete details will be discussed in Geneva."

However the Russian top diplomat admitted that it is impossible to be sure that meeting will ultimately take place, bearing in mind the developments of the past week when the Americans had first initiated a document Russia was ready to take as a basis for talks and then revoked it to offer another text. "We reacted to all the steps taken by the American side promptly, in close contact with our defense ministry," he noted. "I will touch wood so that it is not frustrated this time, like it was previously."

Lavrov drew attention to the fact that some of his interlocutors, in particular the French minister and a number of other partners during bilateral talks, as well as many delegations during the plenary meeting expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Aleppo. "But once you tell them what Russia is doing, what our military at the center for reconciliation of the warring sides at Hmeimim are doing, once you ask them about similar actions on their part, no concrete things are said," he noted.

"By the way, I can tell you that today the Syrian army suspended active combat operations in Eastern Aleppo as another large-scale operation to evacuate civilians is being held," the Russian top diplomat stressed. "In involves about 8,000 civilians. It is a colossal operation and route is five kilometers long.".

[Source: Itar Tass, Hamburg, Deu, 08Dec16]

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