Astana Format Talks on Syria Open in Nur-Sultan on Tuesday
04:34 GMT 21.12.2021 (Updated: 05:10 GMT 21.12.2021)
NUR-SULTAN (Sputnik) - The new round of talks on Syria are opening on Tuesday in the Kazakh capital of Nur-Sultan and will primarily focus on the situation in the conflict-ridden country and the implementation of previously reached agreements.
According to Kazakhstan, which organises the event, the parties will review the current situation in Syria, maintaining the peace in de-escalation zones in line with earlier agreements reached during the Astana Process.
"Also, guarantor states – Russia, Turkey, and Iran will hold the session of the Working Group on Forcibly Detained Persons with the participation of the UN and ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross]", the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier in December.
Additionally, the parties will discuss the prospects of the Syrian Constitutional Committee with a view to give an impetus to the Geneva talks within the United Nations.
The delegations from Russia, Turkey, Iran, the government of Syria, and the Syrian opposition will take part in the negotiations. Representatives of the UN, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq are expected to attend as observers. The consultations in Nur-Sultan will last for two days.
Syrian Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Susan will represent the Syrian government
, while Ahmad Tomah is set to lead the Syrian opposition delegation. Turkey will be represented by the Foreign Ministry's Director General for Syria Selcuk Unal, while the Iranian delegation will be headed by Ali Asghar Khaji, a special assistant to Iran's foreign minister for special political affairs.
The UN side will be headed by Deputy Special Envoy Khawla Mohammed Ali Matar.
Meanwhile, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry has yet to confirm that the Russian, Turkish, and Iranian foreign ministers will meet in Nur-Sultan as part of the talks. Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi previously said that a meeting of the top diplomats of the Astana format was under consideration.
"The meeting of the guarantor states' foreign ministers has not yet been confirmed. But the next round of Syrian talks will be held, as had been announced, from 21 - 22 December at the deputy foreign minister-level", Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov told Sputnik earlier in December.
Negotiations to resolve the Syrian war, which broke out in 2011, have been ongoing in Nur-Sultan since 2017 with the mediation of the guarantor-states of the Astana format (after the former name of the Kazakh capital).
In January 2018, the Russian city of Sochi hosted a congress of the Syrian national dialogue, the first such attempt since the beginning of the conflict to bring together the main political forces in Syria. The main result of the congress was the decision to create a Constitutional Committee, which operates in Geneva and whose primary task is to prepare constitutional reform in Syria.