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The New Arab

Russia invites Trump officials to Syria peace talks

Lavrov voiced hope that Russia and US could start discussions on fighting terrorism in Syria[Getty]

Date of publication: 17 January, 2017

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Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Russia is encouraged by US President-elect Donald Trump's focus on combating terrorism.

The Russian foreign minister has said that Moscow is inviting representatives of the incoming US administration to attend upcoming Syria talks in Kazakhstan.

Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference on Tuesday that Russia is encouraged by President-elect Donald Trump's focus on combating terrorism.

He voiced hope that Russian and US experts could start discussions on fighting terrorism in Syria.

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"We hope that the new administration will be able to accept that proposal," Lavrov said, adding that the talks in Astana will offer "the first opportunity to discuss a more
efficient fight against terrorism in Syria."

Russia expects cooperation on settling the Syrian crisis will be more productive than it was with the Obama administration.

The Russian minister also said that one of the goals of the upcoming Syria peace talks was to consolidate the frail truce in the war-torn country.

"One of the objectives of the meeting in Astana is first of all to consolidate the ceasefire," he said, adding that the talks would also serve as an opportunity to involve rebel field commanders in "the political process" to end bloodshed in Syria.

Organised by rebel backer Turkey and regime allies Russia and Iran, the meetings are the latest bid to put an end to the brutal war raging in Syria since March 2011.

Russia and Turkey last month brokered a ceasefire in Syria but without the involvement of the United States, a negotiator in previous truces.

The truce went into effect on December 30 and has brought calm to much of Syria although fighting continues in some regions.

Syrian rebel groups said on Monday they will attend the talks. If the Astana meetings are successful, they could bode well for fresh UN-hosted political negotiations on the conflict set for next month in Geneva. 

Agencies contributed to this report

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