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UN envoy to skip Syria talks in Kazakhstan’s capital

Geir Pedersen won't be able to attend the meeting due to health reasons
UN Secretary-General's Syria envoy Geir Pedersen Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
UN Secretary-General's Syria envoy Geir Pedersen
© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

NUR-SULTAN, July 31. /TASS/. The UN Secretary-General's Syria envoy, Geir Pedersen, is not going to attend the upcoming international meeting on Syria in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

"We regret to say that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, will be forced to skip the upcoming talks due to health reasons. The UN delegation will be led by his deputy," the ministry’s press service said in a statement.

Earlier reports said Pedersen had sustained an eye injury and doctors said he should avoid traveling in the near future.

The upcoming meeting will be attended by the Syrian government’s delegation led by Syria's UN Envoy Bashar Jaafari and the armed opposition headed by Ahmad Tu'mah, according to Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry.

All the invited parties have confirmed their participation. Russia will be represented by Presidential Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev. The Turkish and Iranian delegations will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and Foreign Minister's Senior Aide for political affairs Ali Asghar Khaji, respectively.

The 13th international high-level meeting on Syria within the framework of the Astana process will be held in Nur-Sultan on August 1-2. The delegations of the guarantor nations - Iran, Russia and Turkey - as well as the Syrian government and the Syrian armed opposition, are expected to take part in it. High-level representatives from the United Nations and Jordan, as well as Lebanon and Iraq have been invited to be observers at the talks. The delegations of Iraq and Lebanon will take part in the Astana negotiating process for the first time.

Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will arrive in Nur-Sultan to participate in the meeting of a working group for releasing hostages and detained persons held on the sidelines of the Syria talks.

On the first day, bilateral and multilateral technical consultations will be held behind the closed doors and the next day a plenary meeting will take place. The two-day talks’ outcome will be summed up in a joint statement of the Astana process guarantor-states, the ministry said.