Russian negotiator positive after 'birth' of Astana Syria process

PARIS (Reuters) - The head of the Russian delegation at Syrian talks in the Kazakh capital Astana said on Tuesday the negotiations had been positive and that he believed a new process had been born to kickstart negotiations between warring Syrian parties.

“Despite a lot of time spent on agreeing the communique, we have managed to give birth to the Astana process,” Alexander Lavrentyev told reporters.

He said Russia, Turkey and Iran, as guarantors, of the agreement to set up a ceasefire mechanism, would now work closely to implement it. However, he sought to play down the impact the talks would have on a U.N. led political process.

“There will be some speculation that Astana is considered as a substitute of the Geneva process. That’s not true - Astana (talks) is a complement to Geneva,” he said, adding though that other groups could join the Astana process.

Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; editing by John Irish