Astana talks on Syrian settlement may start on January 23

Sputnik News– According to the Turkish foreign minister, sides may convene in Kazakhstan’s capital on January 23 to discuss Syrian settlement.

The Astana talks on settling the Syrian conflict may begin on January 23 provided that the ceasefire regime is upheld in the war-torn country, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday. “Russia understands the Turkish side’s position. If the ceasefire agreements are upheld, the Syrian talks in Kazakhstan will start on January 23,” Cavusoglu told the Anadolu news agency.

Russian experts are set to arrive to the Turkish capital of Ankara on January 9-10 in preparation for the upcoming Astana talks, he added, noting that the group of experts plans to visit the Turkish Foreign Ministry to discuss the issue of planning the talks in Kazakhstan. Russia and Turkey are currently working on measures against any groups violating the Syrian ceasefire, the foreign minister noted.

On December 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed in a phone call the possibility of a meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana between the parties to the Syrian conflict with Russia, Iran and Turkey as potential mediators. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev supported this initiative and expressed readiness to provide a platform for such talks in the Kazakh capital. Russia has stressed that the Astana and UN-backed Geneva platforms are not rivals, with the latter set to complement the former.

Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition and terrorist groups, including Daesh, which is banned in a range of countries, including Russia.