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Russian Foreign Ministry marks progress in Syria

The number of ceasefire regime violations in Syria is decreasing but terrorists still do not stop their attempts to disrupt the truce, Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday.

"After the ceasefire regime was established on December 30 the signs that the situation improves were seen, and the number of violations tends to decrease," Zakharova said.

"Still, terrorists of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (terrorists groups outlawed in Russia) have not stopped their attempts to disrupt the ceasefire and use all possibilities to disrupt it," she said.

Zakharova recalled that in late December the terrorists cut off the water supply to more than 5 million citizens of Damascus. "Will our colleagues after this continue calling them 'moderate.'? When we say about terrorism, this is not only blasts, bombing, suicide-bombers but also deliberately harming the civilian infrastructure."

The diplomat said the ceasefire opens additional possibilities for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population.

Astana meeting

A meeting in the capital of Kazakhstan on Syria scheduled for January 23 should become a new milestone on the way towards peace in that country, Zakharova went on.

"We expect the Astana meeting to become a new milestone on the way towards peace and give an impetus to constructive work of all the sides for resuming the political process in Geneva," she said.

"We expect that the meeting in Astana scheduled for January 23 will take place," the diplomat said.

"So far, we proceed from the date of January 23. We don't have any other data so far," she said.

Talks with Jordanian top diplomat

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Jordanian top diplomat Nasser Judeh will discuss the situation in Syria and Iraq in Moscow on January 16, she went on.

"The parties will discuss the pressing issues on international and regional agenda paying special attention to the numerous conflicts the Middle East has been facing," the diplomat added.

"The Syrian issue will top the meeting's agenda," Zakharova stressed.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 12Jan17]

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