New Delhi - Russia, Iran and Turkey each supported the readiness of the armed opposition in Syria to take part in upcoming UN-led political negotiations in Geneva.
New Delhi – Russia, Iran and Turkey each supported the readiness of the armed opposition in Syria to take part in upcoming UN-led political negotiations in Geneva.
Negotiations between key stakeholders in the Syrian War met in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, ended with Russia, Iran and Turkey devising a sustainable mechanism to support the ceasefire.
The meeting, organized by Russia and Turkey, was attended by both the Syrian government and the armed opposition. The agenda for the talks was targeted at sustaining and strengthening the ceasefire that has largely held, despite pockets of violence. The talks were also aimed at securing a breakthrough ahead of the United Nations-led political negotiations in Geneva on February 8.
The three nations made it clear that they supported the readiness of the armed opposition groups to participate in the Geneva talks and that they were committed to “minimising violence, building confidence, ensuring humanitarian access and the protection and free movement of civilians,” according to a final statement read by Kairat Abdrakhmanov, the Kazakh foreign minister.
The Opposition views the talks as a medium through which the ceasefire could be strengthened. Meanwhile, the Government, which currently holds the upper hand since recapturing Aleppo in December, is seeking a political solution to end the civil war that has raged for six years.
Spokesman for the Opposition, Yahya Al-Ardi, however, expressed his views saying, “I don’t believe that the communiqué will be strong enough to be taken to the UN,” as a number of rebel demands, including the lifting of sieges, the release of prisoners and the delivery of aid to besieged areas,” that he said had not yet been “confirmed.”
He went on to add that “we (Opposition) would not sign a declaration with the regime at the talks,” Instead, it would be a “general statement…not meant to be signed by the parties.”
“These are very intense discussions because this is not about a paper; it is about cessation of hostilities, which means saving lives,” Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy to Syria.