Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) meets with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (R) and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 29, 2016. The Syrian government and the opposition have reached a cease-fire agreement, and both sides are ready to start peace talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.(Xinhua/Sputnik)
MOSCOW, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government and the opposition have reached a cease-fire agreement, and both sides are ready to start peace talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Three documents have been signed between the conflicting sides: one on a nationwide cease-fire in Syria, one on measures to monitor the truce, and the third on starting peace negotiations on the Syrian settlement, Putin said.
All the reached agreements are "very fragile," which requires special attention and patience, as well as a professional approach and constant contact with Moscow's partners in the region, Putin said at a meeting with Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The trilateral format involving Russia, Turkey and Iran will monitor and provide guarantees to the peace process, Putin said, adding that contacts between him and leaders of Turkey, Iran and Syria would coordinate further steps on Syrian agreements.
Meanwhile, Putin called on all related countries to support the reached agreements and take part in talks in Astana, Kazakhstan on the Syrian settlement proposed by Russia.
The nationwide cease-fire will come into force at 0:00 local time on Friday (22:00 GMT on Thursday), Shoigu said at the meeting, adding that the agreements were reached with seven armed opposition groups involving62,000 people, which formed the core of the armed opposition.
He said the reached agreements created all the prerequisites for the cessation of hostilities, and establishment of a direct dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition over issues like the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It also created conditions for the reduction of Russian troops in Syria, Shoigu said.
Putin agreed to reduce the Russian presence, but adding that Russia would continue to fight terrorist groups and support the Syrian government in the fight against terrorism.
Shoigu also warned that the opposition factions that have not signed the latest truce deal would be automatically categorized as terrorist groups.
Lavrov said at the meeting that Moscow was going to invite Egypt to join the group of guarantor countries, adding that other key countries could also be involved.
ANKARA, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday that a permanent ceasefire and a political solution to the Syrian crisis is close, local media reported.
Cavusoglu's comments came after reports of an agreement between Turkey and Moscow for a general ceasefire deal in Syria. Full story
TEHRAN, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Iran's defense minister said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia should not be part of Syria peace talks, Tasnim news agency reported.
"They (Saudi Arabia) are seeking to topple the existing regime in Syria. No talks should be allowed with those who are eager to do it. We must give them a decisive answer," Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan was quoted as saying. Full story