Russian Federation working for maximum representation at Congress of Syrian people - diplomat

Astana hosting falconry competitions

Russian Federation working for maximum representation at Congress of Syrian people - diplomat

Syrian opposition members say Russia's plans to host Syrian groups and government representatives for political talks are an attempt to undercut United Nations efforts to resolve Syria's conflict.

The Astana peace process has been underway since January with the mediation of Iran and Russian Federation, the Syrian government's allies, and Turkey, which supports armed opposition groups.

Lavrentyev said Assad would be willing to participate in the proposed talks with other Syrians, which he said would include groups both for and against the government. He added that Syrian President Bashar Assad is set to launch dialogue involving various representatives of Syrian society, TASS reported.

Two separate series of peace talks are being conducted in an attempt to end the six-year civil war in Syria.

Vladimir Shamanov, who sits as chairman of Russian parliament's defense committee, told a meeting at the Kazakh parliament that the "major tasks" of Moscow's military campaign in Syria "have been nearly accomplished", according to Russia's state-run news agency TASS.

The talks, which focus on strengthening the cease-fire that came into effect on December 30, are brokered by Turkey, which backs the opposition, and Russian Federation and Iran, who support Bashar Assad's regime.

Last week, the UN's chief negotiator, Staffan de Mistura, announced the resumption of peace talks in Geneva on November 28, saying he hoped talks in Astana will "prevent further unraveling of interim de-escalation and cease-fire arrangements".

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