Iran consults Russia, Turkey before Syria talks
The Iranian delegation, which is in Astana to mediate talks aimed at resolving Syria’s six-year conflict, has held separate consultations with the two other mediating delegations, namely those of Russia and Turkey.
Headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi-Ansari, the Iranian team arrived in the Kazakh capital on Saturday. Soon afterwards, it met with its Russian and Turkish counterparts to discuss the latest schedule revisions and developments concerning the upcoming meeting.
The two-day talks, organized by Iran, Russia and Turkey, will involve the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition groups discussing a solution to the conflict. The negotiations will start on Monday.
The Russian delegation is headed by President Vladimir Putin’s pointman on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, while Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal is leading the Turkish representatives.
At the talks, Iran and Russia will be mediating on behalf of the Syrian government, while Turkey will be siding with the militants.
Coordination between Iran, Russia and Turkey helped bring about an agreement on the evacuation of militants in the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo late last year. A ceasefire was then negotiated by Russia and Turkey for the city, and, as the agreement held, the two brokered a countrywide truce.
The Astana talks will be addressing such issues as the further stabilization of the all-Syria ceasefire, effective confrontation with terrorism, and intra-Syrian dialog toward the achievement of a political solution to the crisis.
Members of the opposition delegation, headed by Mohammad Alloush, arrived in the Kazakh capital on Sunday.
The Syrian government’s delegates, headed by UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari, also left Damascus earlier in the day.
Foreign-sponsored militancy began in Syria in 2011. Substantive financial, political, and ideological support was offered to the militants by the countries opposed to the Syrian government, most notably the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
No common invitation has been sent to the United States to join the talks after the Islamic Republic roundly objected to the prospect. Tehran is critical of Washington’s support for Takfiri groups seeking to oust the government in Damascus.
Tehran had said the US may attend the talks as an observer upon the invitation of the host country.
On Sunday, the United States said it will not send a delegation to the talks, instead opting to accept host Kazakhstan’s invitation for the US ambassador to Astana to participate as an observer.