Peace Mediators Set to Reconvene Syria Talks

Peace Mediators Set to Reconvene Syria Talks  Peace Mediators Set to Reconvene Syria Talks

A working group comprising representatives of peace underwriters in Syria, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey, is set to hold discussions in Astana on Monday, before the international talks on the situation in Syria, which starts on Tuesday in Kazakhstan's capital.

The main meeting is to focus on further cooperation to determine the parameters of the four de-escalation zones on Syrian territory that the parties agreed to establish at a conference in May, TASS reported.

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari traveled to Astana on Monday to attend the new round of peace talks.

Starting from May 6, according to the corresponding memorandum, four de-escalation zones have been established in the northwestern Idlib Province and parts of the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo, the north of the central Homs Province, Eastern Ghouta near Damascus and southern Daraa and Quneitra regions.

Security zones with checkpoints for civilians and humanitarian convoys, as well as ceasefire monitoring centers are to be established on their borders.

The agreement includes a no-fly zone and prohibits military activities in the areas in question. The document is valid for half a year and may be automatically extended for a similar period.

According to Special Presidential Representative for Syrian Settlement and the head of Russian delegation, Alexander Lavrentiev, the document may be prolonged for an unlimited period of time.

***Agenda of Talks

According to Special Presidential Representative for Middle East and African Countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Moscow expects a whole package of documents on de-escalation zones to be signed after the two-day negotiations on Syria.

"Meticulous work continues. We expect documents on de-escalation zones … to be signed," he said. "We are the guarantors: we signed the memorandum on May 4 so, actually, everything has been set," the diplomat said. "There are a number of specific points and they are very important for the participants."

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on June 30 that the establishment of the Syrian committee for national peace settlement would be discussed in Astana.

Besides, the parties will discuss direct humanitarian access and the restoration of Syria's infrastructural facilities.

"The parties plan to work out a joint declaration on the demining of Syria's historical monuments that are on the UNESCO international cultural heritage list," the Kazakh Foreign Ministry reported.

The guarantors of the truce also plan to adopt a resolution on the release of detainees.

Counter-terrorism will be one of the main issues on the agenda.

Apart from the guarantor states' representatives, UN envoy on Syria Staffan de Minstura, Jordan Foreign Minister's Advisor on Political Affairs Nawaf Uasfi Tel and Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones will take part in the meeting.

The Syrian delegation will be represented by Syria's Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jaafari. Ahead of the meeting, the media reported that the Syrian armed opposition would not come to Astana. However, its representative Yahya al-Aridi refuted the reports in an interview with TASS.


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