April 5, 2016 / 6:02 PM / in 2 years

Russia pledges full support for U.N.-brokered Syria peace talks

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will support the efforts of U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura to promote direct and inclusive talks between the sides in Syria’s conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told de Mistura on Tuesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) meets with U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, the mediator of Syrian peace talks, in Moscow, Russia, April 5, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

“As in any conflict, it is of course key that we ensure the inclusive character of the negotiations and that they are focused on promoting a direct dialogue between the two sides,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.

“We will give you our full support in this,” Lavrov was quoted as saying in opening remarks at a meeting with de Mistura, who was visiting Moscow.

The U.N. mediator said he was hopeful for a new phase in negotiations about a political transition for Syria.

So far talks in Geneva between a Syrian government delegation and the opposition have stalled because Damascus is unwilling to engage in discussions about President Bashar al-Assad possibly leaving office as part of that transition.

The talks are scheduled to resume in Geneva on April 11.

“We need to further develop the political process, to work on strengthening it, and on further progress. It is the cornerstone of our work,” Interfax news agency quoted de Mistura as telling Lavrov.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Alison Williams

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