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U.S. will not participate in Astana talks on Syria

14 May 2018 [13:24] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Kamila Aliyeva

The United States will not participate in the ninth round of talks on Syria, which kicked off in Astana on May 14, RIA Novosti reported quoting the American embassy.

“The U.S. will not participate in any official status in the Syrian talks, which are held on May 14-15 in Astana,” the embassy said.

Russia’s Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, commenting on the situation, noted that Russia hopes for U.S. participation in the ninth round of talks on Syria.

“We hope that common sense exists and they [American side] will take part in our meeting because if they made such a decision, then this is sad enough, and indicates that they are trying to choose their own way. Why to isolate themselves from the political process?,” he told reporters.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry announced the beginning of the next round of talks on Syria on Monday.

The delegations of the guarantor states - Russia, Turkey and Iran - along with the delegations of the Syrian government and armed opposition will take part in negotiations.

It was noted that the UN delegation led by Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and the delegation of Jordan will take part in the meeting as observers.

Russia’s delegation will be led by Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, while Turkey will be represented by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Sedat Onal. The Iranian delegation will be led by Senior Assistant to Iran's Foreign Minister for Special Political Affairs, Hossein Jaberi Ansari.

The guarantors are expected to hold bilateral and trilateral expert consultations prior to the event. The plenary meeting with the participation of all parties is scheduled for May 15.

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

In December 2017, during the eighth international meeting on Syria, the guarantor countries agreed on establishing a working group on the release of detainees/abductees and handover of the bodies as well as the identification of missing persons, and adopted a joint statement on humanitarian demining in Syria, including UNESCO's cultural heritage sites.

On the basis of its results, Russia, Iran and Turkey coordinated terms of holding of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress on January 29-30 in Sochi. 

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. 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. All previous efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution were ruined, with the opposition demanding Assad leave power, the government insisting he stay on, and neither side able to force the issue by achieving a military victory.

According to the UN, the number of victims of military operations in the country can range from 300,000 to half a million people. The settlement of the conflict is discussed in Astana and Geneva, and the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue, which took place on January 30 this year in Sochi, was the first attempt to gather a wide range of participants on one negotiating platform.


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