“We are opposed to US presence [at the Astana meeting],” Zarif said as quoted by the Tasnim news agency.
“We have not invited the US and are against its presence,” he said.
On December 17, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed in a phone call the possibility of a meeting between the Syrian conflicting parties in Astana. Putin said the new site could supplement the Geneva talks.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev supported the initiative and expressed readiness to provide a platform for such talks in the Kazakh capital. The Astana meeting is expected to be held January 23, and the Geneva meeting on February 8.