Syria talks focus on Russia-proposed plan

The main powerbrokers in Syria's nearly seven-year conflict entered the second day of negotiations in Astana on Friday as uncertainly loomed over a Moscow-driven plan to reach a political settlement. The latest Syrian peace talks are sponsored by Russia, Turkey, and Iran.

Chief Russian negotiator Aleksandr Lavrentyev told reporters that Russia was forging ahead with plans to host a "National Dialogue Congress" in the Black Sea resort of Sochi to accelerate discussions over a political deal that have sputtered in Geneva.

Lavrentyev said the parties involved spent time discussing the congress proposal on the first day and called on the Damascus administration and opposition forces to "forget old grievances" if they were to move towards a political deal.

The congress, he said, will be a platform that offers the different representatives of Syrian society the opportunity to resolve matters of political settlement that so far have not been discussed in Geneva.

During the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Thursday, the United Nations' special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, refused to make any comment about the proposal.

Source: VOV5