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U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks to the media during the fourth round of Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov

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GENEVA (Reuters) - United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Monday that he was reconvening peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva on May 16.

In a statement, de Mistura voiced hope that the agreement reached last week in Astana among Russia, Iran and Turkey to set up "de-escalation" zones in Syria will be implemented in full "thus bringing about a significant de-escalation in violence, and helping shape an environment conducive to the political intra-Syrian talks in Geneva".

Syria's foreign minister Walid al-Moualem said earlier on Monday that Damascus would abide by Russia's plan for such zones if rebels also observed it, adding that the insurgents should help drive Islamist militants from opposition-controlled areas.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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