Kazakhstan’s role will be limited to hosting the meeting. This means that Russia, Iran and Turkey will play the main role in solving the regional crisis. Erdogan reiterates partnership with Moscow. Only Syrian opposition groups sponsored by Ankara will be at the meeting. Other groups have been blocked.

 

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Kazakhstan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has announced that preparations for the Syria peace conference have been completed. The meeting will bring together the various factions to the Syrian civil war and hopes to restore stability in the troubled country.

 

Kazakh First Deputy Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tellobrda told InterfaxKazakhstan yesterday morning that “Our country greets the talks (of peace) and we are ready to provide the necessary space.”

 

This suggests that Kazakhstan will only play host, with no say in any other matter. Russia, Iran and Turkey, with the backing of the United Nations, will thus run the talks.

 

The peace talks will move from Geneva (Switzerland) to Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, set to open on 23 January in the presence of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura.

 

De Mistura’s presence reiterates Moscow’s position that the Astana conference will be the continuation of the work started in Geneva, even though everyone knows that those unwelcome in Geneva will unlikely be welcome in the Kazakh capital.

 

The talks come at a time when Washington is undergoing a transfer of power and Europe has lost international focus, thus highlighting the roles of Russia, Iran, and the new Mideast balance of power.

 

NATO member Turkey will also be at the conference, guaranteeing a balance in a region where the West seems to have been definitely defeated.