NUR-SULTAN – Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan will host the 16th round of talks on Syria next week on July 7-8, known as the Astana Process, reports the Kazakh Foreign Ministry press service.
Delegations of the guarantor states – Iran, Russia, and Turkey, the Syrian government, and the Syrian armed opposition groups are expected to attend. High representatives of the United Nations, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq will participate as observers.
The round will focus on the situation on the ground in Syria, including the socio-economic and sanitary-epidemiological issues, international humanitarian assistance to Syria, the resumption of the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee in Geneva, confidence-building measures including prisoners exchange, hostage release, and search for missing persons.
The first-day agenda includes bilateral and trilateral consultations of the guarantor states, their negotiations with the Syrian parties, and the observers’ delegations, while the second day will proceed with consultations and a plenary session.
Nur-Sultan has been the platform to host the Astana Process talks since January 2017, and the last meeting in Nur-Sultan was in December 2019. In February 2021, the meeting in the Astana format took place in Sochi, Russia.
As part of the 16th round, the capital will also host the meeting of the Working Group on Forcibly Detained Persons with the participation of the Guarantor States, the UN, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) experts.
Ten years of war in Syria has turned the country into ruins, with more than half a million people killed or missing and many more forced to flee the country.
From the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Kazakhstan has been urging the international community to seek a diplomatic solution, believing that military methods only exacerbate the situation.