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Syrian government envoy to Astana slams rebels

AP , Monday 23 Jan 2017
Bashar Jaafari and a member of the Syrian delegation
Bashar Jaafari, Syrian Ambassador to the UN and head of the Syrian delegation, right, speaks to a member of Syrian delegation during the talks on Syrian peace in Astana, Kazakhstan, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 (Photo: AP)
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Syria's government envoy at the peace talks in Astana has denounced as "provocative" and "insolent" a speech delivered by the head of the rebel factions attending the gathering in Kazakhstan.

Bashar Ja'afari, Syria's U.N. ambassador, says rebel leader Mohammad Alloush's speech in Astana did not rise to the level of the gathering of diplomats attending the conference.

Ja'afari in remarks to reporters in Astana repeatedly referred to the rebel delegation as representatives of "terrorist armed groups." He also said that the agenda for the talks, which are sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran, is "not ready yet."

The harsh and uncompromising tone of Ja'afari's remarks was a bad omen for the talks, which had barely started with an opening ceremony and speeches by various representatives.

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