By Elena Teslova
A cease-fire in Eastern Ghouta as part of the Syrian settlement is on the agenda of an upcoming meeting between Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers in Kazakh capital Astana, said Russia's top diplomat on Friday.
The meeting is expected to take place sometime after mid-March.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Moscow following a meeting with his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov, Sergey Lavrov said Russia was ready to adjust the text of resolution if it would contain guarantees, confirmed by the influential external players, that a cease-fire would be held both inside and outside the besieged Damascus suburb.
Commenting on criticism of Astana process by the U.S., Lavrov said Washington was trying to discredit what happened in the Kazakh capital since the process prevented American plans to partition Syria.
Meanwhile, Kamilov said a conference on Afghanistan in Tashkent would take place in March, and that Uzbekistan had invited Turkey and Russia to take part in it.
The organizers have also invited China, the U.S., Pakistan, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. because these players, as well as Russia and Turkey, are deeply involved in the Afghan settlement and further development of the situation in Afghanistan depends strongly on the position of these countries.
The U.K., Germany, France and Italy have also stated their willingness to participate, he said.
The major purpose of the conference is to send a strong signal to opposition that time for negotiations has come, and dialogue has to start without preliminary conditions, Kamilov said, adding if there were questions, government and opposition would be able to solve them without any help.