Astana talks not to substitute Geneva process: Russia
MOSCOWRussia does not think the Astana talks on Syria may substitute for the Geneva process, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told Russian agency TASS.
“It is an integral process,” Peskov stated when asked if the format of the Astana negotiations might substitute for the Geneva talks.
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhkmanov has said another meeting in Astana on a settlement in Syria would be held on March 14-15 and the guarantor countries were in the process of discussing its format and level.
On Feb. 6 the Joint Operational Group for monitoring the ceasefire in Syria, consisting of experts from Russia, Turkey, Iran and the United Nations and Jordan met in session for the first time. It was formed after a conference on the Syrian settlement in Kazakhstan’s capital took place on Jan. 23-24.
The second international meeting on Syria took place in Astana on Feb. 15-16, attended by the guarantor states -Russia, Iran and Turkey - as well as representatives from Jordan, the United States, the United Nations, the Syrian regime, and the armed opposition.
The Syrian regime and the opposition agreed a “clear agenda” to seek to end the country’s six-year-old war, the U.N.’s mediator said on March 3 at the end of sometimes fractious and slow-moving talks in Geneva.
Staffan de Mistura said he hopes to invite both sides back to Geneva later this month for a new round of talks, which will include the issue of counter-terrorism at the request of Damascus.
“The train is ready, it is in the station, it is warming up the engine. Everything is ready, it just needs an accelerator,” he said at the end of nine days of talks in the Swiss city.
“I believe that we have a clear agenda now in front of us. We discussed procedure … but we also discussed substance,” he added.