New round of Syrian talks kicks off in Astana
The first working day of the 11th round of Syria peace talks in the Astana format kicked off in the Kazakh capital on Wednesday, with representatives of three guarantor states and Syrian opposition group in attendance.
From Iran, Special Assistant to Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, attended the meeting, according to Iran Press.
Turkey is represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedal Onal during the talks. The Russian delegation is led by Special Presidential Representative for the Syrian Settlement Alexander Lavrentyev, and the Damascus delegation is led by Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jaafari.
The consultations are being held at The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Astana. They will continue throughout the first day of the meeting.
Talks on Wednesday was closed to the press, while Thursday’s main session -- where all the sides will meet and a final declaration will be read out -- will be open to media.
Russia’s representatives are expected to discuss the specified issues with representatives for Turkey and the Syrian opposition and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. A trilateral meeting of the guarantor states to the Astana process - Russia, Iran and Turkey - is planned for the evening.
A plenary session will be held on the second day of the negotiations, November 29.
On the sidelines of the meeting on Tuesday, Jaberi Ansari met with Syrian and Russian representatives to Astana peace talks.
Nine meetings were held in Astana, while the 10th meeting was held in Sochi, Russia this July.
More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria and millions have been driven from their homes since the conflict began in March 2011, and the infrastructure of the country destroyed.
About 1.2 million Syrian refugees have returned to their homes since September 2015. 101/202