Russia, US did not break off contacts on Syria — diplomat
Moscow and Washington did not break off the contacts on Syria, including on political aspects of the situation there, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, TASS reports.
"Moscow and Washington didn’t sever the contacts on Syria," he said. "Communications continue not only through military channels on the so-called deconfliction in order to avoid unpredicted incidents, but also on political aspects of the situation."
"That these contacts are not publicized is a different thing," Ryabkov said. "They don’t need publicizing because the positions of the sides differ significantly."
The diplomat added that that the Geneva process has stalled, but Russia expects it to resume.
"What we did in Sochi, what we did in Astana together with the other guarantor nations - Syria and Iran - is not intended to replace Geneva. In this regard, our stance is open, we are trying to find points of coincidence with the United States, but the US goals in Syria are unclear to US," he said.
In 2017, Russia, Iran and Turkey initiated a process of peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, which also involved representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition. The three nations undertook to guarantee the ceasefire. So far, ten rounds of talks were held in this format, the latest of them took place on July 30-31.
In May 2017, the Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations signed a memorandum in Astana on setting up four de-escalation zones in Syria. Those zones are the Idlib Province, some parts of its neighboring areas in the Latakia, Hama and Aleppo Provinces north of the city of Homs, Eastern Ghouta, as well as the Daraa and al-Quneitra Provinces in southern Syria. In line with the agreements, the ceasefire in the Idlib zone is monitored jointly by the three nations, while the rest of the territories is monitored by the Russian military police.