Syrian chief negotiator blames Turkey for opposition’s absence at Astana talks

TASS– Astana hosts another round of the international meeting on settling the crisis on March 14-15

Turkey as a guarantor of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria bears responsibility for the armed Syrian opposition’s refusal to take part in the Astana talks, Syria’s envoy to the UN Bashar Jaafari, who heads the government’s delegation, said on Tuesday.

“This (non-participation of the opposition) once again confirms that it is under control. As a guarantor country, Turkey is responsible for that,” Jaafari stressed. “We should ask Turkey why the opposition has not come.”

The diplomat said the government’s delegation expects the Astana meeting to be fruitful. “We have come here to speak with our allies – Iran and Russia,” he said. “We expect a positive outcome of the talks, the success of the Astana process.”

Astana hosts another round of the international meeting on settling the crisis on March 14-15. On Tuesday, preliminary consultations will take place and on Wednesday participants will gather for a plenary meeting.
The nationwide ceasefire came into force across Syria at midnight on December 30, 2016 under a deal on settling the crisis. Russia, Iran and Turkey act as the ceasefire guarantors. The truce does not cover terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia).

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