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ASSAD SAYS LATEST CEASE-FIRE ‘GATEWAY’ TO PEACE IN SYRIA

DAMASCUS, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that success of the latest cease-fire represents a gateway to the peace in Syria, state news agency SANA reported.

Assad made the remarks during his meeting with visiting Iranian Parliamentary Director General for International Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, SANA said.

Both sides voiced support for the Russian-Turkish sponsored cease-fire in Syria, which excludes the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and the Daesh group.

The president said a successful cease-fire will allow the return of peace and stability to Syria through fighting the terrorist groups.

He also said the cease-fire would create appropriate conditions for launching a dialogue led by the Syrians to determine the future of their country.

For his part, Abdollahian stressed Iran's firm support to Syria, as Tehran believes that the terrorism targeting Syria will negatively impact all regional countries.

The meeting came just two days after the end of Syrian peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, where foes in a six-year conflict met face to face for the first time.

Turkey, Russia and Iran, the three sponsors of the two-day Syrian talks, made a joint statement at the end of the talks, stressing their commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.

They said the three countries support talks between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups and believe that there exists no military solution to the conflict.

The parties reaffirmed their commitment to reach peace and fight against the IS and Nusra Front terror groups and to separate them from other armed opposition groups.

The statement also supports the Syrian opposition's willingness to participate in the next round of negotiations.

Russia, Iran and Turkey have decided "to establish a trilateral mechanism to observe and ensure full compliance with the cease-fire, prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the cease-fire," according to the statement.

The talks consolidated the cease-fire reached on Dec. 29 and implemented on Dec. 30 in Syria. The signatories of the ceasefire were the government and rebel groups, under the auspices of their backers, Russia as the supporter of the Syrian government, and Turkey the long time backer of the rebels.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK