UN Syria talks to follow agenda set by UN resolution: envoy
Feb 16 2017
The Kazakhstan talks are brokered by Russian Federation and Turkey, which back opposing sides in the almost six-year war and have taken the lead with peace efforts since December.
The start of Syrian crisis talks has been delayed by a day after the late arrival of Syrian rebel negotiators, who have made a decision to only send a group technical experts after threatening to boycott the meeting, sources and the delegation said. "I do hope that in the capital of Kazakhstan, where the Russian delegation has already arrived for working consultations due later today, an extra impetus will be given to an inclusive intra-Syrian dialog under the United Nations auspices in Geneva, which, we hope will be resumed in the last days of February".
The talks were expected to take place on February 15 and 16. Since Russia furnished Syrian opposition representatives with a draft constitution for Syria in January talks in Astana, Ankara has refrained from discussing the future administrative make-up of Syria at the meeting in Kazakhstan, in contrast to Moscow's attempts to make the talks a venue for political discussions.
On Wednesday, Salim al-Muslit, the spokesman of the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC) that includes militant groups and opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, said he supported direct talks between the HNC and the Syrian government.
A new round of UN-backed peace talks is due to begin in Geneva next.
The Astana initiative has left the West on the sidelines of the latest push to end the war in Syria that has claimed more than 300,000 lives since 2011.
"We can confirm that letters have been sent today, and also that consultations are continuing", Mistura's office said in a statement.