Kazakh FM: Astana Talks Postponed

Syrian peace talks backed by Russia, Turkey, and Iran scheduled to take place in Astana June 12-13 have been postponed, Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry said, as key players wrangle over the future of fragile safe zones in the war-torn country.

Moscow earlier said that it was calling a fresh round of negotiations to try to shore up four “de-escalation zones” agreed in May between the co-sponsors of the talks Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry said it had been told representatives from the three powers would meet in their separate capitals in the “upcoming days and weeks”.

“The sponsor countries intend to inform Kazakhstan in the future about the timeframe, level, attendees and agenda they agree for the next round of Astana talks,” ministry spokesman Anuar Zhainakov said.

There was no immediate confirmation from Moscow, Ankara or Tehran on any new date for talks.

At the last round of negotiations in May attended by Syrian government and rebel delegations, regime backers Moscow and Tehran and rebel supporter Ankara agreed to establish four “de-escalation zones” to ease fighting in opposition areas.

The zones — where aerial bombardments were supposed to stop — have ushered in a marked decrease in fighting on the ground, but there remain key outstanding issues to negotiate.

Despite pledging to agree on definitive boundaries by June 4, the sponsors are still arguing over the outlines and which countries should send in forces to police the safe zones.







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