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Fresh Syria talks set for July 4-5 in Astana

AFP  |  Moscow 

The next round of Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan's capital has been scheduled for July 4- 5, the Kazakh foreign ministry said today.

"The participants plan to discuss the situation in Syria, the process of abiding by agreements reached during previous rounds of talks in Astana, including the creation of de- escalation zones in Syria," the Kazakh foreign ministry said in an official statement.

Earlier, today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said the talks would be held on July 10.

A source in Geneva close to the negotiations confirmed to AFP that the talks would take place on July 4-5 but that the Geneva talks would start on July 10.

Lavrov told reporters in that the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura -- who announced the date for the Geneva round on Saturday -- would take part in the Russian-backed talks.

A new round of talks had been scheduled for June but was indefinitely postponed as key players wrangled over the future of fragile safe zones agreed for Syria in May.

Russia and Iran, which back Syrian President Bashar al- Assad's forces in the war, and Turkey, a supporter of rebel forces, signed an agreement on May 4 on setting up four safe zones.

Lavrov today said these zones "are one of the possible options to move forward together".

Moscow has spearheaded the Astana talks since the start of the year as it tries to turn its game-changing military intervention on the ground into a negotiated settlement.

The tense negotiations -- seen as a complement to the broader UN-backed talks in Geneva -- have involved armed rebels and government officials and have focused mainly on military issues.

The last Geneva talks ended on May 19 after four days without making any real progress.

The six-year Syrian conflict has killed more than 320,000 people and seen nearly two thirds of Syrians forced from their homes.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 19 2017. 23:32 IST