The foreign ministers of Turkey and Kazakhstan stressed the pivotal role of the Astana process in taking steps to de-escalate tension in Syria and supporting the Geneva process.
Speaking in a press conference yesterday in Ankara with his Kazakh counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the "Astana process has played a significant role in implementing a cease-fire, establishing de-escalation zones and taking confidence building steps."
Underlining that the Astana process is in line with the Geneva process, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu also added that some countries that are not participating in Astana have been attempting to undermine the process.
"So far the most concrete steps have been taken in Astana and in Sochi. We will continue the process. The next meetings will be held again in Astana on May 14-15," Çavuşoğlu stated.
In an effort to contribute to the efforts to end the ongoing Syrian conflict, Turkey, Iran and Russia launched a process in the Kazakh capital Astana. Last year, Turkey, Iran and Russia agreed in Astana to establish de-escalation zones in the northern province of Idlib and parts of neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo. Under the Astana agreement, Turkey is to gradually establish 12 observation points from Idlib's north to south to monitor and sustain the current cease-fire agreement for the de-escalation zones, deliver humanitarian aid and ensure the secure return of displaced people. Ankara has repeatedly said the Astana process is not an alternative but a complementary effort to the Geneva peace talks.
Commenting on the Astana process, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said that "Turkey is one of the countries playing an essential role in the Astana process." He added that the Astana process is of the utmost importance for Kazakhstan in order to decrease the tension of the war. Highlighting that the de-escalation zones have been established and mechanisms for the release of prisoners have been established with the Astana process, Abdrakhmanov said that international cooperation is needed for a political resolution in Syria.