Russia, Iran, Turkey Working on Astana Process Session: Spokesperson

Russia, Iran and Turkey are working on the agenda for the next international high-level meeting on Syria in the Astana format, which was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Russia comes out in favor of saving the Astana format to facilitate the crisis settlement in Syria that has proved its efficiency, and gives high marks to the level of cooperation achieved by the three countries guarantors of the process, Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.

“Due to a new wave of the pandemic, the dates for the 15th international meeting on Syria on that platform have to be pushed back,” she added, Tass reported.

“We are trying to take advantage of this forced pause to think together with the partners about how to fill the Astana meetings with new concrete themes along with concrete discussion regarding the possibility of surmounting the existing problems, in order to make the subject matter of this meeting not only eventful, but also efficient and constructive,” the spokeswoman noted.

The guarantors will also think about giving these meetings “a new impetus, including through higher activity within the framework of the working group for the release of detainees or abductees, handover of bodies and search for the missing,” Zakharova added.

Moscow, Tehran and Ankara are the three guarantors of the Astana process for Syria.

The previous high-level meeting in the Astana format was held in Kazakhstan in December 2019. A new meeting was planned for March 2020, but was postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.

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