Astana Talks Effective for Settling Syria Crisis
Astana Talks Effective for Settling Syria Crisis

Astana Talks Effective for Settling Syria Crisis

Astana Talks Effective for Settling Syria Crisis

The top Iranian and Russian diplomats said the recent Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana were an “efficient platform” for conducting direct talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups.
In a telephone conversation on Saturday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, discussed the outcomes of the two-day intra-Syrian talks that concluded in Astana on January 24.
Iran, Russia and Turkey, as sponsors of the peace process, agreed on the establishment of a trilateral mechanism to ensure the ceasefire in Syria and monitor possible violations.
“It was stressed that the meeting [in Astana] become an efficient platform for a direct dialogue between the government of Syria and representatives of armed opposition in order to strengthen ceasefire and restore peace and calm to the country,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, Press TV reported. It added that Zarif and Lavrov expressed readiness to continue using the experience and opportunities of the Astana talks “to facilitate the active work on the resolution of the Syrian conflict in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254.”
Resolution 2254 endorses a roadmap for a peace process in Syria. It calls for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria and the formation of a “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian” government within a six-month timeframe and UN-supervised “free and fair elections”.
The two senior diplomats also agreed to closely coordinate efforts to help find a political settlement to the Syrian crisis, the ministry said.
Iran, Russia and Turkey organized and played intermediary roles at the Astana talks where the United Nations envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was also present.
After the talks came to an end, Russia announced that it had given the militants a draft version of a new constitution compiled by Moscow to speed up talks toward ending the conflict. However, the militants announced that they would not enter into talks over any constitution with Russia.
Last month, Iran, Russia and Turkey worked out a deal enabling the evacuation of civilians and militants from Aleppo as the Syrian forces were about to retake the northwestern city from militants. The deal also paved the way for a nationwide ceasefire that has been largely holding.
Syria has been fighting foreign-sponsored militancy over the past six years. 
De Mistura estimated in August last year that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the Syrian crisis until then. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.


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