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    Participants of Syria peace talks attend a meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan January 23, 2017.

    All Options Considered in Possible Talks Between Syrian Gov't, Opposition

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    The Syria ceasefire talks are kicking off in Astana with the meeting between Russian and Iranian delegates, followed by a meeting with the Syrian opposition, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

    ASTANA (Sputnik) —  All participants of Syrian reconciliation talks have arrived in Astana, including representatives of nine armed Syrian opposition groups, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry stated.

    Aidarbek Tumatov, Director General of Asia and Africa Department said Turkey's delegation is also represented, albeit in smaller numbers than previously.

    "All sides have already arrived. At least delegates of guarantor countries were here yesterday. The opposition delegation, headed by Mohammed Alloush, has arrived this morning," he said.

    Tumatov also stated that all options are on the table in the possibility of direct negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition in Astana.

    "All options are considered," Tumatov told reporters.

    Tumatov did not specify which of the two delegations were scheduled to meet with the Syrian opposition.

    "Russia is meeting with Iran right now, then the opposition will arrive and talks with the opposition will begin." 

    The delegates at Syrian ceasefire talks in Astana will try to achieve results and conclude negotiations on Thursday without extending the two-day talks, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said.

    "The parties will make every effort to complete all negotiations today and come to a concrete solution," Tumatov told reporters.

    Asked whether the negotiations could extend into Friday, Tumatov said "I think the sides will wrap up today."

    A plenary meeting of the second round of Astana talks on Syria will take place on Thursday at 4 p.m. local time (10:00 GMT), the Kazakh Foreign Ministry's Asia and Africa Department Director General said.

    "Around 4 p.m. we expect that a plenary meeting of the parties will begin, the sides will sit down at a round table, there will be presentations and discussions followed by a short press conference."

    On Wednesday, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said that the plenary meeting would be held on Thursday around lunchtime because of the late arrival of the Syrian armed opposition.

    The enforcement and monitoring of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria is one of the main issues on the agenda of the second round of the talks.

    Head of the government delegation Bashar Jaafari told Sputnik on Wednesday that no meetings with the Syrian opposition delegations were scheduled in Kazakhstan.

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    talks, Astana talks on Syria, Syrian opposition, Kazakhstan, Syria
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