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Astana summit aimed at facilitating intra-Syrian dialogue: Iran
17 February 2017, 12:41 | Clarence Schmidt
Syrian government and rebel representatives failed on Thursday to make any breakthroughs at talks in Kazakhstan, as key powerbrokers Russia, Turkey and Iran sought to shore up a shaky ceasefire. Jihad Makdissi, a representative of the Cairo Group of political opposition, told TASS his group will not participate as part of the HNC delegation.
The second round of Syria talks are expected to discuss provisions on monitoring a ceasefire and adopting a final statement, Kazakh Foreign Ministry's Asia and Africa Department Director General Aidarbek Tumatov said Thursday.
Mohammed Alloush, the head of the Saudi-backed High Negotiation Committee (HNC) delegation, arrived in Astana late on Wednesday, an indication that the opposition has not come to the one-day meeting with enthusiasm, especially because he said the opposition was not aware of the agenda.
A round of Syria peace talks scheduled to begin Wednesday in Kazakhstan has been delayed until Thursday.
The discussions were to take place on February 15 and 16.
"We rely on the stance Russian Federation has always been sticking to: it is up to the Syrian people to decide the future of their homeland, and this is applicable to absolutely all aspects of the current situation", he said.
Russian Federation and Iran have helped turn the tables on the ground in the war-torn country with their military backing for strongman Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has supported rebels fighting to oust the strongman but has since shifted to support a ceasefire together with Russian Federation and Iran.
The Kazakh government said on Saturday it had invited the government and rebels for February 15-16.
Aridi said the Syrian opposition agreed to go to previous rounds of talks in Astana to consolidate the truce and implement the humanitarian clauses of resolution 2254.
The United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will not attend talks on the Syria crisis in the Kazakh capital Astana, his spokeswoman Yara Sharif said on Wednesday.
The efforts made by Iran, Syria and Turkey to mediate the Astana talks was no replacement for the previous efforts by the global community to help end the Syria crisis, but rather serve as a supplementary initiative, he noted.
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