Russia, Turkey, Iran to press ahead with Syria talks - Kazakhstan
The Syrian opposition has put forward a number of conditions for its participation in the talks.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov told parliament that the talks would hold between Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We are awaiting confirmations from the other parties to the meeting,” Abdrakhmanov, adding that delegations had already started arriving in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
“The Syrian revolutionary forces delegation has received an invitation to take part in the third Astana meeting, but we are setting forth the following conditions for holding any round of talks,” a statement read.
The delegation wants the meeting to start after March 20 in order to assess the establishment of ceasefire regimes in the Al Waer and East Ghouta areas, the deadline for which has been set for March 20.
The delegation gave three further conditions for its participation, including a full ceasefire in opposition-controlled areas, an end to forced resettlement and a conclusion of ceasefire mechanism discussions.
NAN recalls that the last round of Astana talks on Syria were concluded on Jan. 25, without issuing a final communique, as was expected. Delegations only made remarks through press briefings.
During the last round of talks, it was agreed on setting up a joint Russian, Turkish, Iranian committee to monitor the ceasefire.
NAN recalls that on Jan. 24, Russia, Iran and Turkey presented a united front at the conclusion of two days of talks in Kazakhstan between the Syrian Government and the armed opposition, pledging support for the country’s shaky ceasefire and a joint mechanism to ensure compliance.
At the conclusion of the two-day conference in Astana on Syria’s nearly six-year war, the three countries said they will use their “influence” to strengthen the truce, which has been in place since Dec. 30.
They did not specify how that would work, and continued differences among the warring sides as well as rebel infighting back home threatened to quickly scuttle the deal.
“It’s going to be a challenge, it’s not going to be easy,” UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who mediated between the two sides in Astana, told reporters.
Russia and Iran, President Bashar Assad’s main supporters, and Turkey, the rebels’ chief backer, said they will use their “influence” to strengthen the truce.
Their joint efforts have raised hopes for a diplomatic end to the brutal six-year conflict. Previous efforts by the US and Russia for a lasting ceasefire led nowhere.Five years of war in Syria
A look at the key moments that have shaped the war in Syria over the last five years.
Following the declaration, read out by Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Syria’s delegates to the Astana meeting held competing press conferences that underlined the enormous differences between the two sides.
“We don’t accept any role for Iran in the future of Syria,” said Mohammad Alloush, the head of the rebel delegation, insisting that all Iranian-backed foreign militias fighting alongside the Syrian Government withdraw.
Syria’s UN envoy Bashar Ja’afari said it was “pitiful” that the opposition was criticising one of the three guarantors who facilitated the agreement.
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