Moscow expects Washington to participate as an observer in the meeting on Syria scheduled to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana on July 4-5, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Tuesday.
“The United States has been participating as an observer, so we hope they will come this time too,” the Russian diplomat said.
All participants in the previous Astana meetings on Syria have been invited to take part in the next round of talks, he said. According to him, in particular, the armed Syrian opposition has been invited but it is up to its leaders to make the final decision.
“Kazakhstan has been sending out invitations,” the Russian diplomat said when asked about the armed opposition’s participation. “The parties invited to the meeting are the same that participated in the previous rounds. Whether they will come or not depends on their willingness to take part in the process of resolving the Syrian crisis,” Gatilov added.
The Russian deputy foreign minister confirmed that the next Astana meeting on Syria was scheduled to be held on July 4-5. “The intra-Syrian talks in Geneva will start after the Astana meeting,” he added.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said earlier that a high-level meeting on settling the situation in Syria would be held in Astana on July 4-5. The guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – are expected to consider documents concerning various aspects of the Syrian de-escalation zones, as well as discuss steps which need to be taken to ensure unhindered humanitarian access and restore infrastructure facilities.
According to Kazakhstan’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi, Jordan, the United States and the United Nations, who participated in the previous meeting as observers, have been sent invitations.