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

    Syrian Opposition Not Present at Astana Talks, Kazakh Foreign Ministry Confirms

    © REUTERS / Mukhtar Kholdorbekov
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    The Kazakh Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the armed Syrian opposition did not take part in the Syrian peace talks in Astana and was not going to arrive on Thursday, a ministry representative told Sputnik.

    ASTANA (Sputnik) – The third round of Astana talks on the Syrian conflict started in the Kazakh capital on Tuesday without the participation of the Syrian armed opposition. On Wednesday, head of Russia's delegation to the talks Alexander Lavrentyev said that the opposition could arrive in Astana on Thursday. The talks ended on Wednesday.

    "Yesterday evening information came in that the opposition would not come," a representative of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry told Sputnik on Thursday morning, adding that "in connection with that, the delegations of the guarantor states have left Astana."

    The next round of Astana talks will take place on May 3-4, the representative said.

    Bashar Jaafari, head of the Syrian government delegation to the Astana talks, said on Wednesday that there would be no extension of the talks. He also accused Turkey of being responsible for the opposition’s demarche.

    Russia, Turkey and Iran, the guarantors of the Syria ceasefire agreement, adopted a joint statement at the conclusion of the talks, reaffirming their commitment to the Syrian peace process.

    Syrian government forces have been fighting against various opposition and terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State (IS, also known as Daesh) terrorist organization, banned in Russia and a range of other states. In December 2016 a nationwide ceasefire regime was introduced in Syria, however, terrorist groups are not part of the deal on the cessation of hostilities.


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