Kazakhstan said Tuesday the next talks to hash out a Syria peace plan in its capital Astana may be held in mid-September, after Russia had planned to hold them in late August.
Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry wrote on Facebook that the timing of the talks would be set at a meeting this month between experts from Turkey, Russia and Iran and "provisionally, we could be talking about mid-September." The ministry said it was quoting Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov's comments to journalists on the sidelines of a government meeting. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists in Moscow Monday the expert-level meeting would be held "by the end of the month or right at the start of September."
However, he did not give a precise date for the full Astana talks. Russia had previously been planning a fresh round of talks in the Kazakh capital in late August. Earlier peace talks in Astana saw Turkey, Russia and Iran hammer out a plan to establish safe zones across swathes of Syria. U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said last week he hopes to launch "real, substantive" peace talks between the government and a still-to-be-formed unified Syrian opposition in October.
Turkey and Russia have played key roles in establishing a nationwide cease-fire in the war-torn country and later agreed upon the evacuation of Aleppo in late December 2016. After that, along with Iran, the three countries took the initiative to bring together the Syrian regime and opposition forces in Astana in an attempt to sustain a cease-fire agreement and to negotiate political transition in the country.