UN special envoy for Syria to take part in Astana talks

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Jun 2023

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria will participate in an international meeting on Syria in the Kazakh capital of Astana on June 20-21, Russian Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

United Nations Secretary General s Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen
United Nations Secretary General s Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen. AP


The UN special envoy Geir Pedersen will be joined by delegations from the guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – and representatives of the Syrian government and opposition, according to Russian news agency TASS.

UN representatives and representatives from neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq will also participate in the negotiations, TASS added.

Earlier, in May, Russia proposed a roadmap to normalise ties between Syria and Turkey at the first meeting of their foreign ministers since the start of the Syrian civil war over a decade ago.

Similarly, in April, Russia's defense minister hosted his counterparts from Iran, Syria and Turkey for talks that were part of the Kremlin's efforts to help broker a rapprochement between the Turkish and Syrian governments.

Turkey which supported early rebel efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, maintains a military presence in northern stretches of the war-torn country that angers Damascus, launching successive military offensives in Syria, most of them targeting Kurdish militants that Ankara links to a group waging a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

Assad's government has described the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Syrian territory as a prerequisite for a normalization of ties.

On the other side, Moscow has waged a military campaign in Syria since September 2015, teaming up with Iran to allow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government to reclaim control over most of the country.

While the bulk of Russia's armed forces have been busy fighting in Ukraine, Moscow has maintained its military presence in Syria and has also made persistent efforts to help Assad rebuild fractured ties with Turkey and other countries in the region following the civil war that has killed nearly 500,000 people and displaced half of the country’s prewar population.


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