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Kazakh foreign minister says Astana process helps strengthen Syrian ceasefire

March 13, 9:43 UTC+3 ASTANA

The United Nations Security Council has praised the peacemaking potential of the Astana process

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Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov

© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

ASTANA, March 13. /TASS/. The United Nations Security Council has praised the peacemaking potential of the "Astana process" aimed at settling the Syrian crisis as well as its role in strengthening the Syrian ceasefire, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said addressing the country’s lower house of parliament.

According to the minister, the UN Security Council has applauded Kazakhstan’s role in finding a way to resolve the Syrian crisis. "Members of the United Nations Security Council noted that arranging dialogue between the Syrian government and the armed opposition, strengthening the ceasefire and setting up a trilateral mechanism for monitoring the ceasefire guaranteed by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran, became possible thanks to the steps taken by the head of our state and the Astana process," Abdrakhmanov said.

"We have received an official message from the Russian Federation saying that a special representative of the Russian president and a special representative of the foreign minister will participate, besides, deputy foreign ministers from Turkey and Iran are scheduled to take part in the meeting. We are now waiting for other participants’ confirmations," Abdrakhmanov said.

"We expect the United Nations, the United States and Jordan to provide final information on their representatives. As for the Syrian government and the armed opposition, it is for the guarantor countries to ensure their participation," Abdrakhmanov noted.

"Upon the recommendation of the guarantor countries, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, representatives of the United Nations and Jordan have been invited to participate in the meeting," the Kazakh foreign minister top diplomat elaborated.

According to Abdrakhmanov, "all issues related to arranging the next Astana meeting have been solved."

The Kazakh foreign minister added that "today, delegations will start to arrive in order to take part in the next round of the Astana process aimed at settling the situation in Syria."

"The composition of the participants, the format and the agenda of the meeting are determined by the guarantor countries. If they invite someone as an observer, this is entirely within their competence. At the moment, I have no information concerning Egypt," he said when asked about Egypt’s possible participation in the talks.

"I met with some representatives of the Syrian opposition on the sidelines of the Geneva talks. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the ceasefire is being implemented as well as with the situation concerning the prisoner release and lifting the siege in districts adjacent to the areas defined by the ceasefire agreements," Abdrakhmanov said commenting on the possibility of the opposition’s participation in the next Astana meeting on settling the Syrian crisis.

At the same time, the Kazakh top diplomat stressed that the guarantor countries, that is, Russia, Turkey and Iran, were obliged to ensure the participation of the Syrian government and the armed opposition.

"In many aspects, the meeting’s format and agenda depend on the guarantor countries, that is, Russia, Turkey and Iran. Jordan was also be present (as an observer) at one of the technical meetings held on February 5 in Astana, ensuring the participation of the Syrian armed opposition groups active in the southern parts of the country close to the Jordanian border. This means that the Syrian ceasefire has already proved to be effective as the number of those joining the ceasefire has been growing," Abdrakhmanov added.

The next international Astana meeting is scheduled to be held on March 14-15. Delegations from Russia, Turkey and Iran will take part in the meeting, invitations have also been sent to the United Nations, the United States and Jordan. The Syrian government and the armed opposition are expected to confirm their participation. On March 14, preliminary consultations will be held while a plenary meeting is due on March 15.

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