Astana, Jun 21 (EFE).- Kazakhstan’s capital will cease to host consultations on the resolution of the Syrian conflict following the Central Asian country’s decision on Wednesday to officially declare the 20th meeting held this week between Russia, Iran, Turkey, and representatives of the Syrian regime and opposition the last in Astana.
“The gradual emergence of Syria from isolation can be seen as a sign that the Astana process honorably fulfilled its mission,” said Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister, Kanat Tumysh, at the 20th meeting of the guarantors of the ceasefire declared in the Arab nation in 2016.
He highlighted Syria’s return to the Arab League as an example of this.
The Astana format, sponsored by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, was created to facilitate negotiations between the opposition and the Damascus government.
“If Kazakhstan’s decision is that it is now necessary to move (the meetings) to a more suitable location, we will naturally hold consultations and find one,” said Russia’s special envoy for Syria, Alexandr Lavrentiev, to the press.
He added that it could be “Moscow, Tehran, Ankara, or perhaps Damascus.”
“The Astana format is alive and will continue to work effectively for the settlement in Syria,” said Lavrentiev, thanking the Kazakh authorities for their hospitality in hosting meetings in their capital since 2017 for the arrangement in Syria.
He admitted that the Kazakh decision took the meeting’s participants by surprise, but insisted that “the format will change its territory but continue to work.”
In a joint statement adopted this Wednesday in Astana by the guarantor countries of the ceasefire in Syria, Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed to hold the 21st international meeting on Syria in the second half of 2023, but without mentioning the country.
They also stressed the importance of continuing efforts to restore relations between Damascus and Ankara, which were interrupted in 2011 with the start of the Syrian civil war, during which Turkey began to support the rebels.
Since last year, the Turkish government has shown signs of approaching the Syrian regime.
Several meetings have been held between the leaders of intelligence services, defense ministers, and deputy foreign ministers.
Russia has been working on a roadmap for the normalization of ties between the two countries, but Lavrentiev emphasized Wednesday that the document requires more work before being sent to the presidents for approval.
Only after can there be talk of a potential summit between the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, he said.
“We are aware of the different ideas for the tasks of designing a roadmap for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Syria, and these will continue,” said Ali Asghar Khaji, senior advisor to the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein-Amir Abdollahian, to the press.
In the statement, Russia, Iran, and Turkey also underline the need to continue providing humanitarian aid to Syria in accordance with United Nations Resolution 2672 and to remove all barriers so that such assistance can reach all Syrians, without any discrimination.
They also stressed the importance of creating in Syria “the necessary conditions for the voluntary and dignified return of Syrians.”
The guarantor countries highlighted the role of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, responsible for drafting a new Constitution, and called for providing all the conditions for them to perform their work. EFE