Astana peace negotiations exclusively intra-Syrian: Damascus
Iran Press TV
Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:23PM
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari says the upcoming peace talks over the nearly six-year crisis in the country will be only "Syrian-Syrian."
Ja'afari, who also leads the Syrian delegation to the peace negotiations, made the remarks in a press conference in the Kazakh capital of Astana, where the two-day talks - organized by Iran, Russia and Turkey - will commence on Monday, with the participation of the representatives of the Syrian government and opposition groups.
The talks will focus on the cessation of hostilities but exclude the Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist groups.
"This would be a test of the credibility and seriousness of the participants, whether those who will be sitting at the discussion table or their operators," he further said, adding that the talks would also focus on strengthening ceasefire lines.
Commenting on the role of neighboring Turkey in the Astana talks, Ja'afari said that Ankara had violated the sovereignty of Syria by launching a military campaign back in August without any authorization from Damascus, adding that Turkey has also provided "assistance" to the terror groups wreaking havoc inside the Arab country.
Furthermore, Turkey has impeded the peaceful resolution of the persisting conflict, he went on to say.
"For us and for our Russian and Iranian friends, neither the Turkish side nor any other side will be taking part in the meeting, as it is an intra-Syrian dialogue among Syrians without foreign interference or preconditions, except for the common denominators that we talked about and which are supposed to be on the agenda," Ja'afari said.
He also noted that there had been no negotiations to date between Syrian and Turkish governments regarding the conflict.
The senior Syrian negotiator also said Damascus hoped that the United States' actions would be more positive and Washington would take further steps in "pushing things forward towards the political solution" of the crisis in Syria.
Headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi-Ansari, the Iranian team arrived in the Kazakh capital on Saturday.
The Russian delegation is also headed by President Vladimir Putin's point man on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, while Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal is leading the Turkish representatives.
Coordination between Iran, Russia, and Turkey helped bring about an agreement on the evacuation of militants in the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo late last year. A ceasefire was also negotiated for the city, and, as the agreement held, the way was paved for its extension to the entire country.
Foreign-sponsored militancy began in Syria in 2011. Substantive financial, political, and ideological support was offered to the militants by countries opposed to the Syrian government, most notably the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
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