Published: Mon, January 23, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Envoy to Kazakhstan to attend Syria talks in Astana - State Department

The negotiations will be the first one after previous UN-brokered peace talks failed to end the crisis.

Russian Federation and Turkey had supported the idea of a US delegation to attend the talks.

Earlier in the day, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and his deputy, Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy held a meeting with the Russian delegation.

Toner said the decision not to send a delegation was due to the inauguration of President Donald Trump and the "immediate demands of the transition" and that US Ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol would instead represent the US "as an observer".

The U.S. government's only representative when the talks begin Monday in Astana, Kazakhstan, will be its ambassador to Kazakhstan, officials said.

Despite disagreement over Russia's military intervention in Syria, the Kremlin appears to want US participation in the peace process. This time is a little different, however, with a significant rebel delegation agreeing to attend, but growing divisions among the various rebel factions, particularly along the lines of who their primary backer is. "At the same time, Moscow understands very well that without [the] presence of Washington, it [talks] will be more or less hard".

The main objective of the inter-Syrian talks in Astana would be confirming of the agreements on ceasefire in Syria of 29 December, 2016, sources close to the talks told TASS on Sunday.

Assad summarized that "terrorist groups", referring to rebels, need to disarm.

The opposition delegation, which mainly comprises Turkey-backed militant groups, was expected to depart for Astana on Saturday.

"China is positive about all proposals and plans that will be conducive to the political solution to the Syria issues", said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a daily press briefing.

The Syrian opposition delegation now represents 14 militant groups.

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