World Bulletin / News Desk
Peace talks aimed at ending the Syria conflict began Monday at a luxury hotel in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.
Fourteen representatives of armed opposition groups gathered at the Rixos Hotel for indirect negotiations with delegates representing the Syrian government.
The discussions, which will focus on extending the cease-fire that came into effect on Dec. 30, have been brokered by Turkey, which backs the opposition, and Russia and Iran, who support Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
They will discuss violations of the cease-fire as well as improving security within Syria in a bid to pave the way for a political solution to the six-year conflict.
The UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, attended the talks that began at around 1 p.m. local time (0700GMT).
UN-brokered talks between representatives of Bashar al-Assad and civilian opposition figures broke down early last year when Russian support turned the war in the Syrian regime’s favor.
Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari heads the regime side. The Turkish delegation is led by Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal while Special Envoy Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov will lead the Russian team.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari and U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol are also participating.
The meeting is due to last until Tuesday evening, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said. More than 400 journalists are attending.
Groups such as ISIL and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, are excluded from the cease-fire and the talks.
Last Mod: 23 Ocak 2017, 21:49