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    Kurdish women hold flags of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and banners during a demonstration against the exclusion of Syrian-Kurds from the Geneva talks in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on February 4, 2016

    PYD Praises Moscow Conference as Step Toward Uniting Kurds Ahead of Geneva Talks

    © AFP 2017/ DELIL SOULEIMAN
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    Kurds should work out a joint position for Syria talks in Geneva and Astana and an upcoming Moscow conference with participation of Kurdistan leaders can help achieve that, Ebdulselam Eli, a representative of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Russia, told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A conference on the Middle East is scheduled for February 15 and will be attended by the representatives of Syrian, Turkish, Iraqi and Iranian Kurds.

    "Recently there have been [intra-Syrian] talks in Astana, Geneva negotiations are coming up. Kurds should present united front within the framework of these processes. We consider Kurdish [politicians'] conference in Moscow an important step toward this goal," Eli said.

    According to the PYD representative, an invitation to the conference was extended to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

    On February 6, Farhat Patiev, Asya Abdullah, the head of the Council of the Federal National-Cultural Kurdish Autonomy in Russia, told Sputnik that Asya Abdullah, the PYD co-chair, and Anwar Muslim, the chairman of the Kobani provincial government, will be at the conference. Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party, which focuses on Kurdish interests, will be represented by Osman Baydemir.

    Turkey was against PYD's participation in Astana settlement talks as it believes this party is linked to the pro-independence Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), active in southeastern Turkey and listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

    The first round of the Astana talks on Syrian reconciliation took place on January 23-24. As a result, Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to establish a trilateral mechanism to monitor the ceasefire regime in Syria. The next round of Astana talks is planned for February 15-16.

    Earlier in the day, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s spokeswoman Yara Sharif confirmed that the UN-brokered inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva would begin on February 23.

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