08:41 GMT +325 March 2018
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    Participants in a meeting on Syria in Astana

    Kazakhstan Safeguards Neutrality in Astana Talks

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    During phone conversation with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrahmanov said that his country had abstained from voting on the UN Security Council resolution condemning the suspected chemical attack in Syria's Idlib province.

    ALMA ATA (Sputnik) — According to Abdrahmanov, Kazakhstan remains neutral in the context of the intra-Syrian peace talks hosted in the nation's capital, the country's foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

    During Wednesday's UN Security Council meeting, Russia vetoed a draft resolution, submitted by the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, condemning the alleged chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province, with China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstaining. According to Abdrahmanov, there were two reasons for the country's decision.

    "Firstly, the Kazakh side stands for unbiased, comprehensive and careful investigation of suspected use of chemical weapons in Syria under the auspices of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with participation of all interested sides," the foreign minister explained, as quoted in the statement.

    As a second reason, Abdrahmanov named the intra-Syrian peace talks hosted in the country's capital of Astana, which are viewed as an inalienable part of Geneva talks.

    "The Kazakh side views [Astana] process as unique, since it gathers at the negotiation table warring parties, including Syrian armed opposition, which managed to agree on a ceasefire. Kazakhstan's impartiality is one of the main aspects of Astana process, which goal is to reach a sustainable ceasefire regime in Syria," the statement read.

    The suspected chemical attack in Idlib occurred on April 4, killing over 80 people. The West blamed the incident on the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Moscow demanded a proper investigation into the incident under the auspices of OPCW.

    On April 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the groundless accusations surrounding the chemical weapons incident in Idlib were unacceptable, as no investigation into the matter had been conducted.

    Astana talks on Syria, UN Security Council, Idlib, Kazakhstan
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