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Kazakhstan’s President backs idea of holding intra-Syrian peace talks in Astana

"Kazakhstan supports international efforts aimed at finding a peace solution to the Syria conflict," Nazarbayev’s press service said

ASTANA, December 17. /TASS/. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has supported the idea of holding intra-Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana in his phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nazarbayev’s press service said on Saturday.

"In the telephone conversation, Vladimir Putin voiced his interest in getting peace talks between the Syrian warring sides to be held in Astana," the press service said. "Kazakhstan’s president supported the initiative."

"Kazakhstan supports international efforts aimed at finding a peace solution to the Syria conflict," he added.

Earlier, Putin said he had reached an agreement with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their phone conversation earlier this week to ask the conflicting parties in Syria to hold talks in Astana. If the parties to the conflict - the Syrian government forces and the armed opposition - agree with the proposal, he added "we will ask Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to back this process."

In April 2015 Kazakhstan received the first request from representatives of the Syrian opposition to hold talks seeking to resolve the Syrian crisis. At the end of May, the first round of talks, held behind closed doors in Astana, brought together 30 opposition activists from different political parties.

During the negotiations a joint document was drawn up, envisaging that foreign military personnel would be withdrawn from Syria and a national army would be revived. Besides, the participants reached an understanding on humanitarian issues, particularly on corridors for relief aid deliveries to refuges with the assistance provided by international organizations, like the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Also, the politicians outlined a road map to solve a many-year-old crisis. Syria’s opposition said after the talks it had reached concrete agreements for the first time in Astana.

In October 2015, the second round of talks ended up with adoption of a declaration on parliamentary elections in Syria, under conditions of international observers’ monitoring and security guarantees for all candidates. Besides, the opposition insisted on forming a national unity government with broad powers and on reforming the army, security forces and other state agencies in Syria.