Ceasefire Focal Point of Syria Peace Talks

Ways to separate terrorist groups from the so-called moderate militants in Syria and the related criteria and timetable were discussed in detail
Hossein Jaberi AnsariHossein Jaberi Ansari

The international Syria talks on Saturday were mainly focused on establishing a ceasefire in the conflict-ridden Arab country, a high-ranking Iranian diplomat said.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, along with his counterparts from the US, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Qatar and Jordan, held four-and-a-half-hour discussions in a meeting behind closed doors in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

However, participants in the talks, which came weeks after the end of a ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia on September 19, failed to agree on a common strategy to end the conflict in Syria, now in its sixth year.

Hossein Jaberi Ansari, the deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, who attended the meeting, told IRIB News on Saturday that the participants conferred on how to distinguish terrorist groups, particularly the Al-Nusra Front [recently rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham] and the self-styled Islamic State, from other militant groups operating in Syria.

"Ways to separate these groups and the related criteria and timetable were discussed in detail," he said.

Under the latest ceasefire plan, whose details were not made public, Moscow says it was up to the US to separate Al-Nusra Front from the so-called moderate militants that enjoy its support, but Washington has failed to honor this obligation. Ansari said the participants also exchanged views on the humanitarian situation in Syria and ways to facilitate aid deliveries to Syrian people.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that all participants in Lausanne talks had agreed that Syrians should determine their own future through inclusive dialogue and that the country should remain integrated.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters after the meeting that there was consensus on a number of options that could lead to a ceasefire, adding that parties to the talks would contact each other on Monday to follow up.

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