Astana is the most effective framework for the intra-Syrian negotiations, the Russian-Iranian stance on the settlement in that country is crucial for facilitating the negotiation process, Igor Morozov, member of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) International Affairs Committee said.
“Of course, the issue of Syria’s postwar settlement was discussed at all meetings between our delegation and Iranian lawmakers. We have a common understanding here that Syria should be sovereign and independent. These approaches were confirmed at our representatives’ meeting in Astana,” said Morozov who visited Tehran as a member of a delegation of Russian senators.
He noted that the Russian-Iranian stance was crucial for progress in the negotiation process. “The key point is that we were able to reach an agreement with the Turkish side on the mechanism of monitoring the ceasefire in Syria, which is controlled by the government troops and the armed opposition who took part in the talks,” Morozov noted.
He voiced regret over the fact that “the Geneva talks have failed once again.” “We can assume that they have outlived their usefulness and lost their spirit,” the senator said. That said, Astana is coming to the fore in the efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria, Morozov added.
“The role and importance of Russia and Iran is growing, and growing substantially at that,” he said. “The Astana talks bring together the leaders of the opposition armed groups, which actually control a sizeable part of Syria’s territory. Today they are willing to discuss the algorithm proposed by Russia and Iran. That’s why I believe that establishing peace in Syria and the process of moving further towards drafting and adopting the (Syrian) constitution, electing a new parliament and, subsequently, the president, depends on the Astana framework.”
Syria talks in Astana
On February 6, Astana hosted the first meeting of the joint group monitoring the ceasefire in Syria that involved experts from Russia, Turkey, Iran, the UN and Jordan. The group was formed after a conference on the Syrian settlement held in Kazakhstan’s capital on January 23-24.
The second international meeting on the settlement in Syria was held in Kazakhstan’s capital on February 15-16. Its participants discussed work to monitor the ceasefire and the prospects for the intra-Syrian consultations in Geneva. Representatives of three countries acting as the guarantors of the truce – Russia, Iran, Turkey – along with Jordan, the United States and the UN, the official Damascus delegation and the armed opposition, worked in Astana.
Earlier on Monday, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, said that the new meeting in Astana on the settlement in Syria will be held on March 14-15. Its format and level are discussed by the countries acting as the guarantors of the ceasefire.