(TASS) Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev has ordered the Foreign Ministry to prepare the Syria talks in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana in the near future, the presidential press service reported following Nazarbayev’s meeting with high-ranking officials from the foreign ministry.
Two weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Kazakh leader discussed the possibility of arranging a meeting between the parties to the Syrian conflict in Astana. Nazarbayev upheld the idea saying that his country “has been supporting international efforts aimed at settling the Syrian conflict peacefully.”
In April 2015, representatives of the Syrian opposition turned to Kazakhstan’s authorities for the first time asking to host talks on settling the Syrian crisis. In late May, 2015, the first round of talks, involving about 30 representatives of various Syrian opposition groups, was held in Astana behind closed doors.
The meeting’s participants adopted a common document urging the withdrawal of all foreign military forces from Syria and the renewal of its own army. Besides, the participants reached an agreement on humanitarian issues, particularly on establishing corridors with the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in order to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees. The opposition members also discussed a road map for a political solution to the crisis. At the same time, the Syrian opposition said that at the Astana meeting it was able to reach specific agreements for the first time.
The second round of the talks was held in October 2015. During the talks, a declaration was adopted emphasizing the need to conduct parliamentary elections in Syria ensuring international supervision and all the candidates’ safety. Besides, the opposition called for a new national government to be formed based on the election results. In addition, the participants demanded that Syria’s army, security forces and all state institutions be reformed.