FM: Russia, Turkey agreed on US presence in Astana
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJan 18, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jan 18, 2017 12:00 am
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çauşoğlu said yesterday that there was agreement between Ankara and Moscow on U.S. participation in the Syrian talks in Astana, Kazakhstan. Çavuşoğlu's comments came hours after his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov said Russia believed it would be right to invite the U.S. to Astana. Meanwhile, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said that the country is ready to host the talks on Jan. 23. Abdrakhmanov underscored that they have enough experience to organize such an event, recalling nuclear diplomacy talks in Almaty between the U.N. and Iran, and two previous meetings on the Syria crisis which were held in Astana in 2015. He also emphasized that the talks will not replace those taking place in Geneva.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that the aim for the upcoming peace talks is to consolidate a cease-fire and involve opposition field commanders. Lavrov added at a news conference that more opposition militants had the right to join the cease-fire and that many had asked to do so. He also said that he thought it was right to invite the incoming U.S. administration to the talks, adding that he hoped they would accept the invitation, welcoming U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's desire to make fighting international terrorism a priority. Lavrov also told reporters he hoped Russia and the U.S. could cooperate more effectively on Syria than Russia did with the Obama administration.
Following the cease-fire deal that was brokered by Turkey and Russia before New Year's Eve, the opposition and the regime were set to attend peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan on Jan. 23.
Despite the Assad regime continued to shell and bomb some of opposition-held areas where there is no terrorist activity, Syrian rebel groups have decided to attend peace talks to press for implementation of a widely violated ceasefire.