Russian FM says Saudi Arabia backs Syria truce deals

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Russia's foreign minister says Saudi Arabia assured him it backs a Moscow-led process of negotiating gradual local cease-fires in Syria, including the establishment of "de-escalation zones."

Sergey Lavrov spoke after a meeting Monday with his Jordanian counterpart and a day after talks with Saudi leaders.

Russia and Iran back Syria's government, while Saudi Arabia supports Syrian rebels. Russia, Iran and Turkey, another rebel backer, have been sponsoring talks in Kazakhstan on gradual cease-fires and de-escalation zones. A new round in the Kazakh capital, Astana, starts later this week.

Lavrov says Saudi Arabia assured him that it "supports this process and will cooperate in terms of creating de-escalation areas and other initiatives under the Astana process."

Lavrov and his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, said the Astana approach is the most practical.