Astana Meeting on Syria to Focus on De-Escalation Zones — Lavrov

MOSCOW-The round of talks on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on July 4-5 will be devoted to the concept of creating de-escalation zones, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday, Tass reported.

"The round, due to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital, will be devoted - as agreed by the guarantor-countries - to specifying the concept approved at the May 4 round - the concept of setting up de-escalation zones on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic," Lavrov said. "The concept needs detailed elaboration." Now all details are being discussed at the level of technical experts, he said.

Russia Hopes Astana Talks on Syria Will Yield Package of Documents on De-Escalation Zones

MOSCOW- Russia hopes that the forthcoming talks on Syria in the Kazakh capital city of Astana on July 4-5 will yield a package of documents on de-escalation zones, Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS on Sunday.

"Meticulous work continues. We hope documents - there will be a number of them, an entire package - on de-escalation zones will be adopted," he said, adding that the parties to the talks confirm their participation in the forthcoming meeting, according to the Russian news agency.

Nearly 150 Killed in Fuel Tanker Fire in Pakistan

Fuel leaking from an overturned tanker has caught fire in a Pakistani city, killing at least 148 people. The death toll is likely to climb even higher as dozens of those injured are said to be in critical condition.

Pakistani Geo News reported on Sunday that the incident happened in the Pul Paka district in the Pakistani city of Bahawalpur on Sunday after crowds of people gathered to collect fuel leaking from a tanker that had overturned in an accident on the National Highway, according to Press TV.

US, Jordan, UN Receive Official Invitations for Next Astana Meeting

TEHRAN - Kazakhstan expects the US, Jordan and the UN to confirm their participation in the international meeting on Syria, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov told reporters on Friday.

A high-level meeting on settling the situation in Syria would be held in Astana on July 4-5.

US Urges Gulf States, Qatar to 'Exercise Restraint' After Doha Gets Ultimatum

WASHINGTON - The United States is urging Qatar and Arab states to exercise restraint after Kuwait handed Doha a list of demands that Gulf nations want fulfilled to resolve the diplomatic rift in the region, a State Department spokesperson told Sputnik on Friday.

"We understand the Kuwaitis, in their mediation capacity, have delivered a list of demands to the Qataris. We encourage all parties to exercise restraint to allow for productive, diplomatic discussions," the spokesperson stated.

JCPOA Survival Depends on West, Says Salehi

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says the survival of the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries depends on the resolve of the West.

“A panoramic view of the unfortunate global situation, and particularly our violence- and crisis-ridden region, tells us that we all need to foster a culture of adherence to commitments,” Salehi wrote in the Guardian daily published on Friday.

“In the absence of effective global governance, relying on this kind of culture would provide a workable basis for genuine engagement,” he added.

EU, Britain Clash over Brexit Citizen Plan

A first item in talks between Britain and the European Union on the so-called Brexit, Britain’s exit from the EU has appeared to be very problematic as EU leaders slam London’s plan to ensure the rights of EU citizens after Britain leaves the bloc Press T.V reported.

European Council President Donald Tusk warned on Friday that offers by British Prime Minister Theresa May on how the EU and Britain should ensure the rights of each other’s citizens risked leaving the two sides on more disagreements in the ongoing Brexit talks.

Supporting Cessation of Hostilities, De-Eascalation Zones in Syria Allows All to Focus on Fighting Terrorism

MOSCOW- Moscow believes that external players should support the cessation of hostilities in Syria to create conditions allowing all to focus on the fight against terrorism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with leader of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt on Friday, Tass reported.

"I would point to the efforts being made to resolve the crisis in Syria," Lavrov said. "They received an additional impetus as a result of the initiatives put forward by Russia, Turkey and Iran, which are aimed at introducing the ceasefire and setting up de-escalation zones," he added. "The implementation of these initiatives is planned to be discussed in Astana," the Russian top diplomat noted.