First Day of Syria Talks in Astana Clouded by Opposition Delegation’s Absence

The first day of the third round of the settlement negotiations between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups has been overshadowed by the decision of opposition not to participate in the talks, making it harder to complete a map of terrorists’ presence in Syria.

Speaking about the outcome of the first day of the negotiations, Alexander Lavrentyev, the head of Russia’s delegation to the talks, said the delegations that had arrived in the Kazakh capital had already been involved in numerous consultations.

OPPOSITION’S DEMARCHE

The agenda of the third round of the talks in Astana presupposed that the delegations of the Syrian authorities and armed opposition as well as the international mediators, such as Russia, Turkey and Iran would focus on the map of terrorists’ presence in the war-torn state.

However, earlier on Tuesday, the delegation’s representative, Osama Abu Zeid, told Sputnik that the armed opposition decided not to participate in the round of Astana talks.

Later in the day, the head of the Syrian armed opposition delegation at the first two rounds of Astana talks on Syrian settlement, Mohammed Alloush, confirmed the statement of Abu Zeid.

“By our statement and absence we want to show the world that Russians are proclaiming political resolution only in media. They have to change their policy, if they want a solution,” Alloush said on his Twitter account.

According to the official, the decision was made in the context of several issues, such as relocation of people from the al-Waer neighborhood of the Homs city, which is the only area in the city controlled by militants, as well as continuation of airstrikes and clashes in several areas of Syria, such as East Ghouta near Damascus.

Commenting on the issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that there were grounds to believe that there was some misunderstanding.

“We are currently working with our colleagues from the defense ministry on the latest news, and we assume that the reasons that were mentioned in the media, at least, as those preventing the Syrian armed opposition from taking part in a new round of talks in Astana are not convincing… We have grounds to believe that there is some misunderstanding,” Lavrov told a press conference.

 

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