The Astana meeting on settling the Syrian crisis has proved to be a success, Head of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Committee for International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev told reporters. According to him, the meeting has paved the way for further negotiations.

 

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“The Astana meeting will facilitate the Geneva talks, this is what it was aimed at. The next round of talks between the Syrian government and the opposition will be held under the United Nations auspices on February 8. The Astana meeting’s participants have welcomed the armed opposition’s intention to join the Geneva talks,” Kosachev said. “Of course, this meeting was a success in itself since representatives of the Syrian government and the armed opposition were brought to the negotiating table, besides, Ankara and Tehran took an active part in the meeting as guarantors of the process,” the Russian senator stressed.

 

According to him, the final statement drawn up by the international meeting’s participants mentions several aspects important for finding a long-term solution to the Syrian conflict, that is, Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, the impossibility of a military solution to the crisis as well as the decision to form a trilateral mechanism for monitoring the ceasefire. Kosachev believes that this is a big breakthrough which was ensured by Russian diplomats.

 

The senator also pointed to the participation of the US ambassador’s to Kazakhstan, who acted as an observer at the Astana meeting. “This is not just an attempt to make overtures to the new US administration but it is a sign indicating that the parties recognize Washington’s important role in the Middle Eastern affairs, it is also an invitation to cooperate,” the Russian senator concluded.