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    Astana Considers Recent Round of Talks to Be Major Step Toward Peace in Syria

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    Press service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said that Kazakhstan considers the outcome of the fourth round of talks on Syria in Astana, held earlier this week, to be a significant step toward peace in the country.

    ASTANA (Sputnik) Kazakhstan considers the outcome of the fourth round of talks on Syria in Astana, held earlier this week, to be a significant step toward peace in the country, a press service of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said Friday.

    "Kazakhstan considers the outcome of the fourth international meeting on Syria in Astana as another significant step toward establishing peace in the country, it calls on the parties [of the conflict] to implement all agreements and confirms its readiness to further continue to contribute to international efforts aimed at searching for different ways of political settlement of the Syrian conflict, in particular as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council," the statement read.

    The ministry pointed out that signing a pact on Thursday on the creation of so-called de-escalation zones where Syrian government and opposition forces would not be allowed to engage, became the main outcome of the negotiations.

    "The signed document notes that within the borders of the four security zones, which include Idlib province and part of the provinces of Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, the area to the north of Homs, Eastern Ghouta, as well as Deraa and Quneitra provinces in southern Syria, hostilities between the warring parties should be ceased, use of any kind of weapons, including aircraft would be prohibited, delivery of humanitarian aid and medicine would be secured, conditions for the restoration of basic infrastructure for the needs of the population, safe and voluntary return of refugees would be created," the statement said.

    The recent round of the Astana talks, which brought together the sides to the Syrian conflict — Damascus and armed opposition, as well as three ceasefire mediator states — Russia, Iran and Turkey, took place on Wednesday-Thursday, while a meeting at the experts level took place on Tuesday.

    The first three rounds of talks on the Syrian settlement brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran, were held in Kazakh capital of Astana on January 23-24, February 15-16 and March 14-15. During the talks, the participants agreed to set up a ceasefire monitoring group, among other points.

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    peace, Astana meeting, Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Syria
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