Russia aims to shore up ceasefire in Syria at Astana talks

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested Russian intervention had saved the Assad regime, and warned that some European countries were attempting to derail upcoming talks in the Kazakh capital.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on January 17, 2017.

​Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that one of the goals of the upcoming Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana was to consolidate the truce in the war-torn country.

He added that the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad was two to three weeks from falling when Russia intervened.

Lavrov said that he hoped the Trump administration would accept the invitation to take part in the talks, that are scheduled to begin on January 23 in the Kazakh capital. He welcomed US President-elect Donald Trump's desire to make fighting international terrorism a priority.

Trump's transition team has been invited to take part in the talks but has not yet officially responded.

The Russian foreign minister further said that he had information that some European countries are considering sabotaging peace in Syria because they feel left out.

TRT World 's William Denselow in Moscow has more details from the press conference.

Russia-US relations

The Russian foreign minister also said the US secret service has stepped up its efforts to recruit Russian diplomats.

Lavrov says no full statistics exist. But he referred to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who first made the allegations. 

Lavrov says allegations of Russian cyber attacks are fabricated. He said US intelligence agencies who had tried to prove that Donald Trump had links to Russia have drawn a blank and should be fired.

He further said that Russia expects to have a dialogue with the Trump administration on strategic stability, including on nuclear weapons, hypersonic weapons, a US missile shield in Europe, space weapons and nuclear testing.

Other points Lavrov made

  • ​Obama tried to stop Japan from improving ties with Russia
  • Russia is working with China to get North Korea talks restarted
  • ​Tensions are sharply rising in the Balkans; the European Union must help de-escalate the situation there
  • Albanian forces should not be present in Serbian populated areas in the north of Kosovo
Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies