Astana talks create joint trilateral ceasefire group

February 17, 2017

TEHRAN – The Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan’s Astana were concluded without a final statement, although Russia declared the creation of a joint trilateral group to monitor the ceasefire.

Russia, Iran and Turkey have decided to create a joint group as part of the Syria ceasefire monitoring mechanism and tasked themselves with separating terrorist groups from the armed opposition.

According to Alexander Lavrentyev, head of the Russian delegation and presidential special envoy for Syria, all the participants in Astana have taken a “constructive approach”. A document was adopted at the talks on a joint trilateral group to monitor the ceasefire in Syria.
Lavrentiev called his assessment of the talks positive, saying, “I cannot say that it is a breakthrough, but it is a step forward”.

Sergei Vershinin, a Russian diplomat familiar with the issue, said that the joint trilateral group “will work on a regular basis to maintain and consolidate the ceasefire”.
The diplomat added that another important step had been made. “It has become possible to bring together in one hall the representatives of the Syrian government and the armed opposition that has accepted the terms of the ceasefire from December 30 last year in Syria.”

One of the issues that will be discussed during the joint trilateral group’s regular meetings is “efforts to organize the release of detainees/abductees as well as exchange of prisoners and bodies on a mutually accepted basis, to identify missing persons of the parties of the arrangement on the ceasefire and to facilitate the unhindered and sustainable humanitarian access and free movement of civilians,” the Concept Paper on the Joint Group read.

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