17 Feb 2021 18:55

Astana-format guarantor countries for Syria settlement welcome U.S. participation - Russian envoy

MOSCOW. Feb 17 (Interfax) - Russia, Iran, and Turkey, as guarantors of the settlement process in Syria, expect the United States to return to negotiations in the Astana format as an observer, Russian special presidential envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said on Wednesday.

"We are still open to American participation and believe that, after all, it would be the right thing for them to resume their presence and try to find mutually acceptable options for settling the Syria crisis with us," Lavrentyev said at a press conference following the 15th meeting on Syria in the Astana format, held this time around in Sochi.

"We are open to a dialogue with our American partners. Washington has not yet completely formulated its position on the Syrian dossier, and it looks like it needs some more time, and yet we hope for a committed and constructive conversation with them in the future," he said.

This would be possible if the U.S. displays such willingness, he said.

"We shall see. We hope common sense will prevail and the maximum pressure policy that the American leadership has pursued virtually during the entire four-year term of Donald Trump's presidency will be somewhat adjusted under [President Joe] Biden toward relaxing the restrictive measures," Lavrentyev said.