March 16 meeting to be held without participation of observer countries or Syrian sides, says Kazakh Foreign Ministry
The foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet in the Kazakh capital on March 16 to discuss progress over the last year of the Astana process for Syria peace, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The ministry said in a statement that top diplomats of the Astana process’ three guarantor countries would assess the results of their collaboration and identify common steps.
“The foreign ministers’ meeting is planned to be held without the participation of observer countries or the Syrian sides,” but Special UN Syria Envoy Staffan de Mistura will be invited, the statement said.
The statement also said that another meeting at the technical level would be held in the city the day before the foreign ministers’ meeting to discuss the release of detainees, the handing over of the deceased, and the search for the lost.
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 on exchanges of captives and prisoners, the handover of the deceased, identification of the lost, and clarification of historic areas under UNESCO protection.