Russian Federation hopes Astana talks to give fresh impetus to Syrian settlement

The Astana initiative has left the West on the sidelines of the latest push to end the war in Syria that has claimed more than 300,000 lives since 2011

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. Almost six years into the war, Assad seems militarily unassailable thanks to the decisive backing of Russian Federation and Iran. The Syrian opposition demands humanitarian aid access and the release of detainees before any negotiations over Syria's political future.

Previous efforts, which have involved indirect negotiations brokered by the U.N.'s envoy for Syria, resulted in little progress to resolve a war that began as peaceful protests against Assad before spiraling into a multi-party conflict.

"A second global meeting on Syria is due in Astana these days", Zakharova said.

The resolution, which was unanimously adopted in December 2015, aims to establish governance and come up with a new constitution. The Syrian government said on February 13 it was ready to agree on prisoner swaps with rebel groups.


"We now want to get into the essence of the political process - the discussion of the political transition - and what the Geneva 1 communique stipulated about the formation of a transitional body with full powers", he said. The communique said it should be formed on the basis of mutual consent.

Talks on the Syrian crisis involving Russia, Iran, and Turkey that were due to start in the Kazakh capital, Astana, on Wednesday have been delayed by one day, Kazakhstan's foreign ministry said without explaining the reason for the delay.

Rebels will send the same delegation to Thursday's talks, headed by Mohammad Alloush of the Islam Army rebel group.

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