19:29 GMT +320 September 2019
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    A picture shows a general view during a fifth round of Syria peace talks on July 5, 2017, in Astana

    China, Egypt, Iraq, UAE May Become Observers in Syria Peace Process

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    Four states may join the Syrian peace process initiated by Russia, Turkey and Iran as the Astana talks are currently underway with the creation of a safe zone in Idlib on the agenda.

    ASTANA (Sputnik) — The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Iraq and China may become observers of the Astana process brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey on the Syrian settlement, apart from the existing ones — the United States and Jordan, a source close to the talks told Sputnik Thursday.

    "We are discussing the extension of the observer states. There are requests coming from various states. The process of Syria's restoration needs to be launched, countries need to invest money into it…. There are proposals to include the UAE, Egypt, Iraq and China," the source said.

    All participants of the Astana-6 international meeting on Syria, including the government and armed opposition representatives, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and the US representative arrived in the Kazakh capital earlier in the day. The delegations of Russia, Iran and Turkey as guarantor states, as well as the UN, US and Jordanian teams are taking part in the meetings.

    The main issue on the agenda of the Syrian peace talks in Astana is the creation of the fourth and last Syrian safe zone in the Idlib province. In July, Russia, Turkey and Iran, with help of Jordan and the United States as observers, tried to coordinate a whole range of specifics on the establishment of the four safe zones, but could not agree on all the details and sign the package of documents as a whole.

    The Astana meeting comes just after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visits to Saudi Arabia and Jordan, where de-escalation on Syria presumably was on top of the agenda.

    The Syrian civil war between the governmental forces and various opposition and terrorist groups has been raging since 2011. The international community has taken a number of actions aimed at the conflict settlement through talks on various platforms including those in Geneva and Astana.


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