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Russia, US Hold ‘Fruitful’ Talks on Syria

Russia, US Hold ‘Fruitful’ Talks on Syria

Saturday, 20 April, 2019 - 09:30
Adviser to US President Donald Trump, Fiona Hill. (AP)
Moscow - Raed Jaber
Russian diplomats revealed details of “secret” talks on Syria held by Adviser to US President Donald Trump, Fiona Hill, in Moscow two days ago.

A diplomat who took part in the “fruitful” closed-door meetings said that Hill held extensive talks at the Security Council of Russia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, RIA Novosti reported.

Her rare visit to Moscow was a significant development during the past few months when coordination between the US and Russia appeared to have dropped. Save for a few communication channels and military coordination, the majority of joint committees and dialogue mechanisms were suspended on all levels.

According to the diplomat, Hill held closed-door talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

Talks tackled Washington’s intention to withdraw from Syria and the situation in the eastern Euphrates region, the Rukban camp and borders with Jordan.

Although both parties did not reveal details, the visit brought relief to Moscow, which had weeks ago demanded that discussions be held on Syria and criticized Washington for ignoring this call.

Separately, Moscow expressed its satisfaction with the outcomes of the Yalta Economic Forum, whose discussions focused on mobilizing support to Russian firms to participate in Syria's reconstruction projects.

Representatives from 60 countries, including Arab states, attended the two-day forum held this week.

Moscow and Damascus reached agreements that fall under Russian efforts to mobilize international support to participate in the reconstruction of the war-torn country.

Syrian Economy Minister Mohammad Samer al-Khalil said that the forum was a “landmark” moment in reconstruction and confronting sanctions.

Several memoranda of understanding were signed, covering commerce and economic cooperation, facilitating the transport of commodities, encouraging trade and establishing a joint navy transport firm to move goods both ways from and to Syrian and Crimea ports.

Kiev had warned in a statement Thursday the forum participants of potentially coming under Ukrainian and western sanctions that were imposed to confront Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Damascus recognized the annexation in 2016, promoting Ukraine to sever diplomatic ties it.

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