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Astana 8 Sets Sochi Congress Date, Keeps Kurds Away

Astana 8 Sets Sochi Congress Date, Keeps Kurds Away

Saturday, 23 December, 2017 - 06:30
Russian lead negotiator on Syria Alexander Lavrentyev, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura attend the fourth round of Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, May 4, 2017. /Reuters

The eighth round of the Astana Syrian talks held between the three guarantor countries, Russia, Turkey and Iran, resulted on Friday in setting January 29 and 30 as a date for holding the Congress of Syrian Peoples in Sochi and also agreed on vetoing the presence of US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units at Sochi.

In Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, where the three countries held a new round of Syrian peace talks, Aidarbek Tumatov, head for Asia and Africa at Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry, said that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress will be held in Russia’s Sochi on January 29-30.

The guarantor states said their representatives would also hold a preparatory meeting for the Sochi congress on January 19-20.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev asserted that the Geneva talks would resume on January 21, before the Sochi Congress.

He added that Ankara objected to the presence of any party linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Democratic Party at the congress.

Turkish sources said that Syria's Kurdish National Council (KNC), a party that has no links with terrorist activities, is considered the legitimate representative of the region’s Kurds at Sochi.

For his part, Ahmad Tohmeh, head of the opposition delegation in Astana, said the delegation had received an invitation to attend the Congress. He expected that the opposition’s presence at the Congress would lead to a progress in the file of detainees.

In Astana, on Friday, the guarantor countries agreed on a draft paper to establish a joint committee specialized with securing the release of detainees and abductees and the handover of the bodies as well as the identification of missing persons.

During the Astana round of talks, participants also reaffirmed their commitment to seek full elimination of terrorism and strengthen the political process in Syria.

The eighth round of peace talks aimed at ending the Syria conflict began on Thursday in Astana, and ended on Friday.

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