Russia has invited the United States to a multilateral meeting on Syria scheduled for Monday in Astana, Kazakhstan, a senior Russian diplomat said Thursday.
“We have extended an invitation signed by our Kazakh friends,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency.
Mediators and Syria’s conflicting factions are expected to meet in Astana to seek a settlement of the chronic crisis, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives and displaced nearly 11 million others.
Earlier in the day, Bogdanov, who is also a special envoy of the Russian president for the Middle East and North Africa, met with the U.S. ambassador in Moscow, John Tefft, to discuss preparations for the Astana meeting, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed the hope that representatives of the upcoming U.S. administration would come to Astana for the first official contact between Russia and the administration of Donald Trump.