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3 February 201718:13

Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault

179-03-02-2017

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On February 3, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke over the phone with French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault. The call was initiated by the French side.

During the discussion of the situation in Syria, Mr Lavrov briefed his counterpart on the results of the Astana meeting, which succeeded, despite numerous differences, in bringing together, for the first time, representatives of official Damascus and the armed opposition that actually controls the situation “on the ground.” The meeting served to confirm the cessation of hostilities and motivate the sides to engage in dialogue, contributing to the resumption of talks in Geneva under the auspices of the UN. The work in this direction in Astana will continue. Mr Lavrov also commented on the draft Syrian constitution developed by Russian experts, stressing that “this is an invitation to dialogue,” an attempt to find common ground in the approaches of the Syrian government and the opposition in order to create conditions for the Syrians to decide for themselves the fate of their country, in line with UN Security Council Resolution No. 2254.

Another issue was the sharp aggravation of the situation in Donbass provoked by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, as follows, among other sources, from the reports by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. Mr Lavrov emphasised that it is unacceptable to connive at Kiev’s attempts to launch self-defeating military adventures and to misinterpret the Minsk Package of Measures, which remain, despite everything, the only way out of the conflict.

This may negate the two-year efforts by the Normandy Four heads of state. The ministers agreed to continue efforts to put the situation back on track in terms of observing the ceasefire and reaching early agreement on a roadmap to fulfill the Minsk Agreements in full.

Mr Lavrov and Mr Ayrault also discussed the schedule of upcoming bilateral contacts.

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