Astana Talks

‘Dealing with enemies to save Syria’: Astana process paves way for Geneva talks

RT– The talks on the Syrian peace process concluded in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, with the three guarantor countries – Russia, Turkey and Iran – issuing a joint statement establishing trilateral support for the Syrian ceasefire and paving the way for the Geneva talks due February 8.

Russia, Iran and Turkey have announced they will establish a trilateral mechanism to support the ceasefire in Syria. In a joint statement issued at the end of talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, they said the Syrian opposition had agreed to take part in peace talks on the issue set for Geneva, Switzerland.

“The delegations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey …support launching the talks between the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the armed opposition in Astana on January 23-24, 2017,” said a joint statement on Tuesday.

Moscow, Tehran and Ankara “express their conviction that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it can only be solved though a political process.”

The sides also agreed to jointly fight terrorists from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), which alongside Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front) was not included in the negotiations. The trio suggested separating terrorists from Syrian armed opposition groups, and welcomed the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on the Syrian crisis, which was adopted in December 2015.

Russia, Iran and Turkey said that they support the willingness of the armed opposition groups to take part in the next round of talks, which are scheduled for February 8 in Geneva.

The head of the Russian delegation in Astana, Aleksandr Lavrentiev, said that the trilateral operative group to monitor the ceasefire will start work in February. He added that representatives of the armed opposition groups would be invited to work together with the group.

Speaking about the monitoring mechanism, Lavrentiev said that Russia does not make distinctions as to which side violated the ceasefire and said that both sides have breached the truce. At the same time, he stressed the importance of prompt verification about the violations and added that many reports on such issues are fabricated.

‘Extremely painful’ to be in same room as Syrian armed rebels who committed terrorist acts – Damascus rep

Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari told reporters it was “extremely painful” for the Damascus delegation to sit in the same room as Syrian armed groups “who committed terrorist acts.” He added that it was not the first time they had met, and that the government had to take the step for the sake of the Syrian people.

Al-Jaafari: meeting succeed in consolidating cessation of hostilities for a specific period of timehttp://sana.sy/en/?p=98949