Lavrov Affirms Need to Eliminate Terrorist Hotspot In Idleb

MOSCOW -  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has commented on the presence of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group in Syria's province of Idlib, saying that it violated the Russian-Turkish agreement on security in the region and that there is a need to eliminate this terrorist hotspot.

"A terrorist nest that is still in Idlib is a fact, and our Syrian colleagues have confirmed their readiness to eliminate this terrorist hotspot. We are ready to continue acting as set out in the Russian-Turkish agreement on Idlib, including the establishment of a demilitarized zone around the security zone. But the fact that Nusra and its reincarnation, Tahrir al-Sham, have, in fact, taken over a large portion of the territory there, of course, does not correspond to the agreements that were reached on the security issues of Idlib," Lavrov told reporters after talks with his Kazakh counterpart Beibut Atamkulov, according to Sputnik.

Lavrov says Astana guarantors summit to be held in February

  Regarding the Astana process on Syria, Lavrov said that an agreement in principle to hold a summit for the Astana guarantors (Russia, Iran and Turkey) in February was reached.

"There is an agreement in principle, the principal understanding is the organization of a regular summit next month involving the Russian, Turkish and Iranian presidents. As soon as the details are finalized, we will inform you," the foreign minister promised, according to Tass.

The previous Astana trio summit was held in Tehran on September 7, 2018. The new top-level meeting is expected to be held in Russia.

  Lavrov also said that US participation in the meeting on Syria in Astana would be useful.

"As you know, we regularly invited representatives of the United States to such meetings as observers. They initially took part, then they decided to leave these invitations unanswered. Although I am sure that [US participation] would certainly be useful," the foreign minister told reporters in Moscow, Sputnik said.