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Astana talks more effective than Geneva: Syrian minister

The Geneva format does not stand any comparison to it (Astana platform) in terms of effectiveness,' Sputnik quoted Syrian Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar as saying in an interview with Russia's Izvestia newspaper.

The Syrian minister further refuted statements accusing Russia of trying to undermine the talks in Geneva by means of the Astana process.

'First of all, we do not doubt that Russia is a friendly country to us. It has been supporting the Syrian people from the very beginning. And we believe that Moscow supports any format that can contribute to the settlement of the crisis in Syria, meaning both Astana and Geneva,' the minister said.

As the Syrian minister noted, the future Syrian Committee of National Reconciliation will only be made up of Syrians, and it will comprise no foreign sides.

The Russian media reported that the participants in the fifth Astana talks on Syria on July 4-5 have reached an agreement on formation of a Committee of National Reconciliation to halt the Syrian crisis.

So far, four rounds of talks have been held in Astana on establishment of peace in Syria.

The first round of multilateral Astana talks was attended by the Syrian government's representatives as well as dissident groups on January 23-24.

The second round of the Astana talks took place on February 15-16 with the participants agreeing to set up a ceasefire monitoring group assigned by Iran, Russia and Turkey, that would report to the United Nations.

The third meeting involving the Iranian, Russian and Turkish and the UN delegations was held on March 14-15 while the US and Jordan participated as observers.

In the fourth round of talks, the participating countries and warring sides agreed to create four de-escalation zones in Idlib province, in northern parts of Homs, in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus and in the south of the country.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency

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