08:02 GMT11 August 2020
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    Syrian Peace Talks in Astana (173)
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    Consolidation of positions of Russia, Turkey and Iran on Syria is the main and only result of the talks in Astana, Mahmoud Afandi, secretary of the opposition Popular Diplomacy Movement, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Afandi added that opposition used to boycott Iran’s participation from the Syrian settlement.

    "The conference in Astana gave only one major result – it allowed Russia, Turkey and Iran to consolidate their presence and influence in Syria. … This was the main objective of the talks. All three countries wanted to secure their positions in Syria," Afandi said.

    "Russia’s presence in Syria is now seen as legitimate by both the government and the opposition… All three states are now [ceasefire] guarantors, and everyone needs to listen to them. Gaining and securing this role is the only real outcome," he said.

    "The fact that Iran and Turkey are now engaged in the settlement is a great success for Russia. No one can disengage them now," Afandi said.

    He said that representatives of the Syrian opposition coming to Moscow on January 27 to meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are likely to try to forge a joint delegation ahead of Geneva talks in February.

    “Lavrov has invited 25 opposition figures to meet on January 27. Hassan Abdul Azim [the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change], Jihad Makdissi [Cairo group], Qadri Jamil [Moscow group] and Randa Kassis [representative of opposition, Astana platform] are among them. It is still unclear on the participation of Hmeimim group. They want to forge a joint opposition delegation ahead of Geneva talks.”

    The format of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in the Syria settlement is exhausted, and is likely to be replaced by the trilateral Russia-Turkey-Iran format established in Astana, he said.

    “The format of ISSG is done. It gave place to the Astana format made up of Russia, Turkey and Iran,” Afandi said.

    “Presence of [UN Special Envoy for Syria] Staffan de Mistura in Astana meant recognition of this new format and of the fact that now everything will proceed from it,” Afandi added.

    Syrian Peace Talks in Astana (173)


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