"[The Astana talks] will happen before January 20. And actually, from the point of view of international ethics it is wrong to engage with people not holding any official positions yet," Naumkin told RIA Novosti.
He added that it was possible to maintain contacts with Trump’s team on non-official level.
"By successful talks in Astana, if the hostilities in Syria end, we are laying ground for a very constructive and active cooperation of Russia and the United States on fighting against terrorism and on settling the Syrian crisis," Naumkin added.
On December 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed in a phone call the possibility of a meeting in Astana between the parties to the Syrian conflict with Russia, Iran and Turkey as potential mediators. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev supported the initiative and expressed readiness to provide a platform for such talks in the Kazakh capital.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia launched the groundwork for talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Kazakhstan alongside Turkey and Iran.