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    Date of Syria Talks Between Gov't, Opposition Still Unclear - Moscow

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    Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the agreement of date of talks between Syrian government and opposition is "undoubtedly desirable".

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The timeframe for the peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition representatives remains undefined, as the issue is complicated, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

    The last round of International Syria Support Group  (ISSG) Vienna-format talks was held in November, where the participants resolved to uphold the 2012 Geneva Communique and convene the sides of the Syria's conflict in formal peace talks. The target date for commencing the talks was set as January 1, 2016.

    "You are talking about benchmark dates set as guidelines and agreed upon by participants of the International Syria Support Group [ISSG] meetings. These issues are being discussed daily. It is undoubtedly desirable to reach agreement as early as possible. However, we clearly understand that this is a complex matter, and its resolution is not proceeding at the desired pace," Zakharova told reporters at a press briefing.

    The foreign ministry's statement comes a day after talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow. Lavrov confirmed on Tuesday that an ISSG meeting would be held on December 18 in New York at a ministerial level. Kerry stressed the need to intensify the search for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, while Lavrov said the ISSG meeting would focus on drafting a UN Security Council resolution affirming the Vienna talks’ agreement on an exclusively political settlement to the Syrian conflict.

    The December 18 meeting is expected to see the exchange of opinions by the participants, according to Zakharova. The process should narrow any rifts in the sides' positions, which could bring about advances in the principal aim of Syrian crisis settlement, she added.


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