22:45 GMT21 October 2020
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    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said that an international contact group on Syria could begin its work in October, and Russia is currently in talks with its potential members.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) An international contact group on Syria could begin its work in October, and Russia is currently in talks with its potential members, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Wednesday.

    "A contact group is a group of international players who can contribute to the stability of negotiations between Syrians themselves. We are currently discussing this issue with all potential members of such a structure, bearing in mind that there is a definite link here with the Iran nuclear agreement entering into force," Bogdanov told RIA Novosti.

    "Right now, as you know, there are discussions in the Iranian parliament and the US Congress. Therefore, some of our partners have expressed the view that the launch of the contact group could be carried out, for example, in October," he added.

    According to the deputy minister, Russia has also agreed to actively work together with a number of foreign partners to help unify the Syrian opposition ahead of a third conference in Geneva. Moscow is currently holding "intense consultations" on this issue with the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations, he said.

    Syria has been mired in a civil war since 2011. The country’s government is fighting a number of rebel groups as well as radical Islamist militant organizations, including the Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

    Over 250,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, according to UN estimates.


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