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De Mistura Calls Trilateral Meeting in Astana Important for Syrian Settlement

De Mistura Calls Trilateral Meeting in Astana Important for Syrian Settlement

The new USA administration is not directly involved because of the "immediate demands of the transition", the state department said on Saturday, but Washington will be represented by U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan George Krol.

The US was belatedly given a formal invitation to attend the talks in Astana by the Russian and Turkish organisers, but would only be represented by the country's ambassador to Kazakhstan, the US State Department said on Saturday.

The talks, set to begin today, will be the first time a delegation composed exclusively of rebel groups will negotiate with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Kazakhstan-brokered peace talks at Astana on January 23-24 hopes to strengthen the December 29, 2016, ceasefire agreement on Syria to end the six-year upheaval in the country that displaced millions of Syrian population and killed almost 500,000 people.

Russian Federation and Iran are divided over USA participation in planned Syria peace talks, a Moscow official said on Saturday, hinting at a rare public spat between the allies.

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UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is also expected to head to Astana leading a delegation.

"We think it would be the right thing to invite the representatives of the United Nations and the new USA administration to the meeting", Lavrov said on Wednesday, at a press conference summing up the results of Russian foreign policy in 2016.

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

Moscow trilateral meeting wrapped up with a statement which urged fighting ISIL and Fath al-Sham Front (former Al-Nusra Front), respecting Syrian territorial integrity, implementation of UN Resolution 2254, safe evacuation of civilians from areas of active war.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict. "It is obvious that without the United States it is impossible to resolve the Syrian issue".


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