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AKIPRESS.COM - The United States is encouraging Syria peace talks being prepared by Russia later this month in the Kazakh capital Astana and hopes they will produce a step toward peace, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday.
"We're encouraging a meeting in Astana. We hope that could produce a step forward," Kerry told reporters during his final news conference at the State Department, Reuters reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 26 that Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syrian President Bashar al Assad had all agreed to hold the talks in Astana although no date has been set.
Kerry said he had talked to U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and the objective remained "to get to Geneva where the real meat of the talks is going to take place."
On January 4, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Syria peace talks in Astana would start on January 23 if the truce would be properly observed.
Turkey and Russia brokered ceasefire deal has begun late December and the main forces of the armed opposition sign a document expressing a readiness to start peace talks.