Jaberi meets with Putin's, Syria UN envoys in Astana

Posted February 16, 2017

All the parties involved in the Syrian dispute will be present tomorrow, Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman, Anuar Zhainakov, announced.

A subsequent statement from the foreign ministry said the talks would begin at 0600 GMT on Thursday.

"We want direct talks, I mean direct negotiations, just to save time and save lives because every day is costly for Syrians", the Syrian opposition figure said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Guennadi Gatilov expressed his hope that the second meeting in Astana will boost the negotiating process to favor a meeting in Geneva on Syria, scheduled for February 23rd.

A rebel source said there were at least 30 Russian sorties on Tuesday, thwarting new rebel gains on Tuesday.

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Delegations of the Damascus government and the rebels attended the previous round of talks in Astana in January but refused to negotiate directly with each other or sign any documents.

Damascus has confirmed it will be represented again by its ambassador to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari.

United Nations envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura said he would not participate personally in the latest Astana meeting but that his office would be represented by a "technical team".

The first round of Astana talks on Syrian settlement was held in the Kazakh capital on 23-24 February 2017 with participation of delegations of Iran, Russia, and Turkey as observers and representatives of Syrian government and a number of armed opposition group.

A Syrian state-owned newspaper says talks with the opposition in Kazakhstan will not be "fruitful" unless they are focused on fighting terrorism. The Geneva talks scheduled for February 23 are expected to be wider-ranging and focus on key issues such as the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.