20:40 GMT17 May 2021
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    Syrian and Iraqi Kurds need to be represented at the forthcoming Syria settlement negotiations, such as the ones in Astana, Head of Foreign Relations Department of Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government Falah Mustafa Bakir told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    DAVOS (Sputnik) — He added that representatives of Syria's neighbors should be at the talks, as they were also affected by the crisis in the Middle Eastern nation.

    "The Kurds of Syria need to be represented at the talks. Iraq and Iraqi Kurds also need to be represented and to attend such meetings [as Astana]," Bakir said, when asked about the participation of the Iraqi Kurds in the Astana meeting on Syria.

    "I believe all the neighboring countries that have been affected by the Syrian crisis need to be sitting down to discuss it…. Because Syrian situation affected us security-wise and humanitarian-wise. We in Kurdistan are hosting 300,000 Syrian refugees," he added.

    The so-called Arab Spring protests shook the Middle East in 2011. In Syria, the protests resulted in clashes between the government forces and

    Syrian government and opposition factions are supposed to meet in Astana on Monday for talks brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran. They will be followed by a UN-mediated meeting in Geneva on February 8.

    Within the framework of the Syrian settlement process, representatives of both country's government and opposition held several rounds of reconciliation talks. The Syrian Kurds, one of the largest ethnic groups of the crisis-torn country, had not been invited to the negotiations and this situation had been repeatedly criticized by participants of the Syrian peace process, including Russia.

    On Tuesday, a source told RIA Novosti that representatives of Syria’s Kurdish National Council had been invited to the Astana talks.


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