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New participants may appear at Astana talks on Syria

23 October 2017 [13:05] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Kamila Aliyeva

The Astana talks might welcome new negotiators on the Syrian crisis.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry admits the possibility of the appearance of new participants at the seventh international meeting on the settlement of the situation in Syria in Astana.

This was stated by Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov on October 23, TASS reported.

"No, I do not exclude it. All depends on how much the guarantor countries will now be able to coordinate their work," he said answering the question about the probability of the appearance of new negotiators.

The composition of participants to the talks will be disclosed "during this week", according to the minister.

The seventh high-level international meeting on Syria within the framework of the Astana process will be held on October 30-31.

During the talks, it is planned to approve the provision on a working group on the release of hostages, prisoners, the transfer of bodies of the dead and the search for missing persons. The parties also intend to consider combating international terrorism and adopt a joint statement on humanitarian demining in Syria.

Astana talks also involve Kazakhstan - as an organizing country, sides to the Syrian conflict - governmental and opposition, and observers from the United States and Jordan.

To date, six rounds of negotiations on the ongoing Syrian conflict were held in Astana.

The sixth round of talks in Astana ended in September with the adoption of a joint statement confirming the intention of the parties to continue work on establishing de-escalation zones in Syria and other decisions previously adopted in the course of the Astana process.

Guarantors of a nationwide Syrian ceasefire regime - Russia, Turkey and Iran - had agreed on May 4 in the Kazakh capital, Astana, to establish "de-escalation zones" in war-torn Syria. The zones would cover the city of Idlib and certain parts of Latakia, Homs, Aleppo and Hama as well as Damascus, Eastern Ghouta, Daraa and Quneitra. The establishment of the fourth one in Idlib province was the spotlight of the sixth meeting in Astana.

De-escalation zones in Syria allowed to significantly reduce the scale of the conflict and contributed to the improvement of the humanitarian situation in Syria.

While the Astana process is separate from the UN’s Geneva talks on Syrian crisis, the attendance of the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura links the Kazakh platform to broader international efforts. 

Syria has been locked in civil war since March 2011. According to UN's special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, around 400,000 people have died in the conflict while half the population has been driven from their homes.


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