Russia, Turkey, Iran Work on New Astana Talks

Russia, Turkey, Iran Work on New Astana TalksRussia, Turkey, Iran Work on New Astana Talks

Russia, Turkey and Iran are working on a new meeting between the Syrian government and the opposition, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with NTV on Sunday.

There will be “new efforts” on settlement of the situation in Syria, he said, TASS reported.

“Recently, (February 6), the second meeting in Astana, which did not feature the Syrian sides, but only Russia, Turkey and Iran, was devoted to additional discussions of details for the mechanism to monitor observation of the ceasefire agreement,” he said. 

Lavrov said those details are approved generally and soon they will gain force and will be implemented practically.

“Parallel to that, we are working on another contact between the government and the armed oppositionist, and we continue involving additional armed groups to have them join the process,” he said.

The Russian minister noted that Jordan had assisted in making “the armed groups, which are in the so-called Southern Front, and on which Jordan has influence, as they are working right across the border with Syria” join the process. 

“I want it to be absolutely clear: we have said at all levels that we are not attempting to replace the UN efforts—though our initiative to a big extent came from the fact it was impossible to tolerate any longer the lack of action—and we realize there should be more parties to the talks, both representing the ‘outer players’, than the initiators, working in Astana,” he said. 

“Parallel to the Astana process, which we want to keep as a ‘driver’, we are getting ready for negotiations under the auspices of the UN, when they happen.”

On February 6, the first meeting of the Russian, Turkish and Iranian joint operational group for monitoring the ceasefire in Syria was held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana.

Experts representing the United Nations and Jordan also participated in the meeting. The group was established following the Astana international meeting on settling the Syrian crisis, held on January 23-24. 

The next meeting of the group is scheduled to take place on February 15-16.

“The US has been invited to join the Astana contacts on Syria following the formation of its Middle East team,” Lavrov said.

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