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    Egypt Not Invited to Syria Talks in Astana Yet

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    Cairo has not been invited to take part in Syrian peace settlement talks, tentatively scheduled to be held in Kazakh capital of Astana in January, but maintains contact with Russia on possible involvement, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Wednesday.

    CAIRO (Sputnik) — On December 17, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed in a phone call the possibility of a meeting in Astana between the parties to the Syrian conflict with Russia and Turkey as potential mediators.

    "We have not received an official invitation yet," Shoukry told journalists.

    Egypt's foreign minister added that Cairo's participation in the talks would be very useful and Egypt was still discussing its possible involvement with Russia and other countries.

    Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave additional details on the proposal, stating that the talks could begin on January 23 provided that the ceasefire regime was upheld on the ground. He added that Russian experts were set to arrive to the Turkish capital of Ankara on January 9-10 in preparation for the Astana talks.

    A nationwide ceasefire came into effect in Syria last Thursday, with Russia and Turkey agreeing to be its guarantors. Radical groups – Islamic State (IS), the Jabhat Fatah al Sham and the Kurdish popular protection units (YPG) – are not part of the deal.

    Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition and terrorist groups, including the Islamic State, which is banned in a number of countries, including Russia.

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    talks, Sameh Shoukry, Astana, Syria, Egypt
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