Astana hosts Syria peace talks
Astana Process aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict is underway in the Kazakh capital. According to the Kazakh vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko, negotiations include the representatives of Syria government, Syrian opposition, delegations from Russia, Turkey, Iran, the United States, as well as the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.
ROMAN VASSILENKO, KAZAKH VICE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS:
Kazakhstan is not a country-guarantor of this process, we are the country hosting these negotiations, and therefore, it is not our responsibility to decide whether the talks will be continued further. We only confirm that we are ready to provide maximum assistance to make it success.
This is not the first attempt to negotiate peace in Syria. Negotiation participants still hope for a fruitful outcome of the meeting. The experts note Kazakhstan’s special role as a peacemaker. Therefore, Astana was chosen to host the negotiations on security issues. The meeting, according to the parties, will make a significant contribution to the preparations for peace talks in Geneva.
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER:
Since the efforts were made to resolve the Syrian crisis, Kazakhstan has been aimed at contribute to their success. Both the government and all opposition groups consider this location for talks suitable. We will be able to create conditions so that the talks between the government and the armed opposition commence. This would be a major achievement, because until now there haven’t been direct talks between the government and the opposition.
400 foreign media representatives are covering the Astana process. The talks are held behind the closed doors. They are expected to last for two days, but in the case of at least some successes all parties are willing to extend the work.