Iranian Delegation in Astana for Syria Peace Talks

Iranian Delegation in Astana for Syria Peace TalksIranian Delegation in Astana for Syria Peace Talks

An Iranian diplomatic delegation arrived in the Kazakh city of Astana on Tuesday to attend the fourth round of negotiations between the Syrian government and armed groups in pursuit of peace in the Arab country.

The Iranian team, led by Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari, was to attend a series of expert talks on Tuesday, ahead of the main round of negotiations, slated for May 3 and 4, Tasnim News Agency reported.

The political negotiations include representatives of the Damascus government, the Syria opposition groups, as well as Iran, Russia and Turkey, known as the three guarantors of a ceasefire in Syria.

United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura had also announced that he would participate in the Astana talks. De Mistura has agreed to attend the talks at the invitation of the Kazakh government "in view of the urgency and importance of reestablishing a de-escalation of the situation in Syria and moving on confidence-building measures", UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.

Kazakhstan's First Deputy Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi said on Tuesday the United Nations, the United States and Jordan have confirmed that their representatives will participate in the Astana meeting on Syria as observers.

Diplomatic efforts to end fighting in Syria have gained momentum in recent months with the announcement of a ceasefire in the Arab country late last year.

The truce, which was negotiated between Russia, Iran, Turkey, the Damascus government and the Syrian opposition, excludes terrorist groups such as the self-styled Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist groups. Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various militant groups.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others and displaced nearly half of the country's prewar population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

Iran has remained a close ally of Syria and supports its government in the face of foreign-backed militancy.

Tehran insists that the Syrian nation is the only side that has the right to shape the future of its own country, rejecting any foreign intervention or use of force without the authorization of the Syrian government.


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