The fifth round of inter-Syrian talks is planned to be held on March 20. They will take place in the capital of Switzerland. Experts emphasize that the outcome of the talks will depend on the results of the meeting in Astana, which is planned to be held March 14-15. The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura announced that the basis for unification of the Syrian opposition was formed during the fourth round. The most important achievement of the most complicated negotiations Geneva-4 was the commitment to the achievements of the Astana process.

STAFFAN DE MISTURA, UN SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA:

Astana and Geneva complement and reinforce each other. We see Astana’s efforts, committed to the UN positions, actively supporting the ceasefire in Syria, including confidence-building measures and the fight against terrorism. The cessation of hostilities between the opposing sides will facilitate humanitarian access for the Syrians and will facilitate the release of prisoners. The Syrian government’s delegation offered us to mutually exchange prisoners. And it is obvious that the venue for this work will be Astana.

Staffan De Mistura stressed that, in addition to the three main issues of the reconciliation process, the fourth - the fight against terrorism was also proposed for discussion. This means that after the cessation of hostilities in Syria, it will be possible to focus in Astana on efforts to combat terrorist organizations. The UN Special Envoy for Syria also noted that only mediatory negotiations between all parties, as the experience of Astana have shown, are so far the only true way of dialogue. Inter-Syrian negotiations were held in Astana at the suggestion of the Russian side. It was in the capital of Kazakhstan where the representatives of the guarantor states: Russia, Iran and Turkey jointly with the members of the armed Syrian opposition, as well as the government of that country sat for the first time at one table. The Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Kazakhstan thanked the Kazakh President for organizing the Astana process and noted that Nursultan Nazarbayev’s role in the settlement of the conflict in this Middle Eastern country is invaluable.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA:

I know that the Kazakh side played a positive role in this process, and not only as an organizer. You personally participated in the organization of meetings, worked with participants and delegates. Thanks to you, certain results were achieved. Particularly, a mechanism for controlling the ceasefire has been created, and this is the most important thing. This is the foundation for the continuation of the negotiations in Geneva.

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