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Russia has agreed that the United States should be involved in the talks on Syria's political future planned to take place in Kazakhstan's capital Astana later this month, Turkey's top diplomat has said. "The United States should be definitely invited, and that is what we agreed with Russia," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu yesterday told journalists in Geneva after an international conference on Cyprus. The talks in Astana are expected to take place on January 23. Russia and Turkey last month brokered a ceasefire in the war-torn country, but without the involvement of the United States, a negotiator in previous ceasefires. The truce went into effect on December 30 and has brought calm to much of Syria although fighting continues in some areas. "We need to maintain the ceasefire," Cavusoglu said in Geneva. "This is essential for the Astana talks," he said. The Turkish foreign minister said invitations for the talks were likely to be sent out next week, adding that Washington should be present. "Nobody can ignore the role of the United States.
And this is a principled position of Turkey," he said. "The ones who did or who could contribute should be there, but not just to be in the family photo. You know what I mean." He said the aim of the talks "is to reach the political solution, which is the best solution.