ASTANA, January 21. /TASS/. Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, is preparing actively for the Syrian talks, due there on Monday, January 23.
During the meeting on Friday between Russian and Kazakh foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Kairat Abdrakhmanov, the parties once again stressed the optimal choice of Astana for hosting this most important event. "From the very beginning, when our Kazakh friends acceded to a request to provide a venue for the talks, they said they would rely on the initiatives of the guarantor countries, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran, which had repeatedly explained their logic concerning the participants, both Syrian and those from outside Syria," he said. "As for the Syrian participants, they are those who signed a package of agreements on ceasefire and the launch of political contacts of December 29."
Kazakhstan’s speaker of the Senate (upper house) Kasym-Zhomart Tokaev at a meeting with a Canadian parliamentary delegation in Astana said Kazakhstan "is hopeful about the upcoming meeting between the Syrian opposition and government representatives." "Parties to the Syrian conflict have a unique opportunity to put an end to the bloodshed, to begin the process of political transformation and the post-war recovery of the country."
"Kazakhstan’s capital is a most suitable platform for launching these most important talks, and this country is ready to offer all necessary conditions," the speaker said, adding his country has experience in organization of similar meetings - Astana hosted twice inter-Syrian consultations in 2015.
An exact number of participants is not announced yet, but anyway on January 19 the foreign ministry announced an official accreditation of the foreign media. The ministry told TASS correspondent reporters from 24 countries will follow up the meeting.
"More than 300 reporters from foreign media of 24 countries have applied for accreditation," head of the foreign ministry’s press service Anuar Zhainakov said. Another hundred reporters come from the local, Kazakhstan’s, media. Thus, more than 400 reporters will cover the negotiations.
Astana promises to meet the talks’ participants and observes with a light snow and a rather warm (as locals say) day. The forecast for Monday says the air temperature will be around minus 5 degrees Celsius.