Kazakh president hopes Astana process to end Syria war

Foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia, and Iran meet Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev
ASTANA, Kazakhstan: President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Friday said the Astana process brings hope to ending the war and bloodshed in Syria.
Nazarbayev met Turkish, Russian, and Iranian foreign ministers — Mevlut Cavusoglu, Sergey Lavrov, and Javad Zarif — after they discussed Syria in the Kazakh capital, Astana.
Lavrov said some 20,000 civilians had so far left Syria’s Eastern Ghouta.
“Now, with the UN, we are solving the issue of meeting their daily needs as long as they stay at temporary shelters,” he said.
Zarif said despite problems in Eastern Ghouta, they tried to resolve the humanitarian issues.
“Civilians in Syria found an opportunity of protection. Yesterday, we started working on providing confidence between the parties,” he added.
Earlier on Friday, the three foreign ministers released a joint statement, which highlighted the continuity of joint efforts to decrease violence on the ground in Syria.
The statement puts a strong emphasis on the territorial integrity of Syria and added that the next meeting in Astana would be held in mid-May.
The meeting was also a preparation for the leaders’ summit on Syria in Istanbul on April 4.
The Astana peace talks were launched on Jan. 23-24, 2017, with the aim of putting an end to violence and improving the humanitarian situation in war-torn Syria.
At the eighth round of Astana talks on Dec. 21-22, the guarantor countries established working groups for the exchange of captives and prisoners, the handover of the deceased, identification of the lost, and clarification of historic areas under UNESCO protection. – AA

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