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Russia’s delegation holds talks with Iran in Astana

The delegations of Russia and Iran have held consultations ahead of the plenary meeting of the Astana talks on Syria, which was scheduled for 12:00 local time (06:00) GMT, a TASS correspondent reported.

However, plenary meetings usually start later than planned as the parties hold additional consultations to agree on a final statement that the guarantors of the Astana process (Russia, Iran and Turkey) will issue. A source close to the Syrian delegation told TASS that really complicated issues were planned to be discussed “on the meeting’s sidelines.”

“No specific decisions will be made concerning the Idlib de-escalation zone and the establishment of a constitutional committee,” the source said, adding that “the final document will call on the international community to support the return of refugees and will also urge the parties to the conflict to work on the exchange of prisoners.”

The meeting involves delegations from the Syrian government and the opposition, as well as guarantor countries, while the United Nations and Jordan are present as observers. Russia’s delegation is led by Special Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is also participating in the meeting.

No other documents are planned to be signed. Following plenary sessions, participants usually hold press conferences, summing up the talks.

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