A new round of talks on Syria conflict led by Russia, Turkey and Iran is taking place in Kazak capital, Astana on Wednesday. Russian Federation is sending presidential envoy Alexander Lavrentiev, Iran is dispatching Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, while Turkey will likely send a Foreign Ministry department head to the Astana talks, according to officials.
The global meeting began on January 23 with the participation of a number of delegations, including armed opposition, Damascus, Russia, Iran, and Turkey.
A new round of UN-backed peace talks is due to begin in Geneva next week.
The opposition fighters there are drawn from both Free Syrian Army groups and members of a newly formed alliance - Tahrir al-Sham - spearheaded by a faction that was once al-Qaeda's official affiliate.
Turkey's Erdogan approves referendum on increasing powers to presidency
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the referendum would likely take place on April 16. Ankara accuses Gulen of orchestrating an attempted coup in Turkey last July.
Delegations of the Damascus government and the rebels attended the previous round of talks in Astana in January but refused to negotiate directly with each other or sign any documents. Jordan will also be represented by a "high-level delegation", government spokesman Mohamed Momani said.
Moscow has invited the USA to participate as an observer but the State Department has yet to confirm Washington will be involved.
They follow a meeting in Astana last month that ended without a breakthrough in the almost six-year conflict, in which more than 310,000 people have died. The Geneva talks scheduled for February 23 are expected to be wider-ranging and focus on key issues such as the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria's rebels won't begin negotiating a political settlement with the government until measures are taken to bolster a flagging cease-fire and address urgent humanitarian concerns, the head of the opposition delegation to planned talks in Kazakhstan told The Associated Press today.
- WWII bomb discovery forces evacuation in Greek city of Thessaloniki
- Thousands remain in shelters after California dam evacuation
- Oil industry can't stand another price collapse - Venezuela
- Mitsubishi reveals all-new Eclipse Cross SUV
- Report says more than 1900 bridges in OH are 'structurally deficient'
- Consumer price inflation set to see upside pressure: Crisil
- Lance Armstrong faces $100 million lawsuit
- Former Chicago Cub Travis Wood Agrees to Deal with Royals
- Census: Ottawa-Gatineau above national average: Pembroke and Smiths Falls lose population
- India's largest state Uttar Pradesh goes to polls