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Putin says Syria talks in Astana helped revive Geneva

FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Ilnitsky/Pool/File Photo

ALMATY (Reuters) - Talks on consolidating the Syrian ceasefire held in Kazakhstan this year helped jumpstart the United Nations-led peace negotiations in Geneva, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday.

At the first round of the talks in the Kazakh capital Astana in January, Russia and Iran, allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, an Assad opponent, reaffirmed a shaky ceasefire between insurgents and the Syrian government.

“A mechanism to control the ceasefire has been created, which is the most important thing,” Putin told reporters during a visit to Kazakhstan.

“This is the foundation that has allowed the Geneva negotiations to resume.”

The Astana ceasefire has been repeatedly been violated, while the war with jihadist groups such as Islamic State - which are not included under the ceasefire - has raged on.

Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov and Aleksandar Vasovic in Moscow; Editing by Robin Pomeroy