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'Moscow Declaration' Suggests Widening Ceasefire - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Moscow – A trilateral meeting held in Moscow on Tuesday between the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran resulted in a document that parties called the “Moscow Declaration,” and in which representatives of the three countries vowed to expand the ceasefire to the entire Syrian territories and to guarantor a deal between the regime and the opposition, clearly bypassing the Geneva agreement.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia, Iran and Turkey “express their willingness to help the Syrian government and the opposition to draft an agreement and act as its guarantors.”

He was referring to a joint statement prepared with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusgolu and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

The Russian foreign minister also said ministers from the three countries “agree on the importance of widening the cease-fire, of free access for humanitarian aid, and movement of civilians on Syrian territory.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Lavrov informed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone call about the results of Tuesday’s talks held in Moscow to discuss the Syria crisis.

In the joint press conference with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts, Lavrov did not mention the calls of U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to hold a new round of talks on Syria next Feb. 8. Instead, the Russian foreign minister said: “The most efficient and effective format for solving the Syrian crisis is our current trilateral format.”

The defense ministers of the three countries also held a meeting in the Russia capital at the same time.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Russian experts had drawn up a “Moscow Declaration.”

He said: “All previous attempts by the United States and its partners to agree on coordinated actions were doomed to failure. None of them wielded real influence over the situation on the ground.”

The talks come a day after the killing of the Russian ambassador in Turkey, but Moscow and Ankara vowed that the attack wouldn’t hurt their rapprochement.

As ministers of the three countries were meeting in Moscow, the last phases of the Aleppo evacuation from opposition forces was nearing to its end.

Lavrov said the evacuation of opposition forces and civilians from Aleppo would take one or two days to complete.