Nur-Sultan, Dec 21 (EFE) – The seventeenth round of consultations between the Syrian government and the armed opposition as part of the so-called Astana process began Tuesday in the Kazakh capital.
The talks, in bilateral and trilateral format, which are to last until Wednesday, are being held behind closed doors with representatives of Russia, Turkey and Iran, the guarantor countries of the ceasefire in Syria, mediating.
The reactivation of terrorist groups in Syria is to be one of the central issues to be addressed in the round of consultations, Russian special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, told reporters Tuesday.
“Lately, terrorist groups have been reactivated not only in northern Syria, but throughout the country. That is why we will analyze in detail variants to counter terrorist groups and unite efforts of all interested parties,” said the Russian diplomat.
He added that Russia and Turkey are working closely together to normalize the situation in the north and northwest of Syria, in particular in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
Lavrentiev said another issue to be addressed in Nur-Sultan is to be the provision of humanitarian aid to Syria, as well as assistance for the reconstruction of the country.
The return of refugees is a further issue to be addressed in this round of consultations.
“We intend to draw the attention of the international community to this important problem, especially when we see certain developments on the part of Western countries,” the Russian envoy said.
He insisted on the need to create decent conditions for the return of refugees, for which funding is required.
“This process is moving forward, but not as fast as we would like,” Lavrentiev said.
Due to restrictions imposed to curb the advance of the coronavirus pandemic, a plenary meeting is not to be held at the end of the current round of consultations, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said. EFE