Kazakhstan said a new round of talks on the Syria conflict backed by Russia, Turkey and Iran and endorsed by the United Nations were going ahead Thursday after a day’s delay.
A plenary session involving all three power-brokers and delegations from the Syrian government and foreign-backed armed opposition is scheduled to begin at 1600 local time (0900 GMT), a Kazakh foreign ministry official said at a press briefing in Astana on Thursday.
The second round of Syria talks are expected to discuss provisions on monitoring a ceasefire and adopting a final statement, Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s Asia and Africa Department Director General Aidarbek Tumatov said Thursday.
“Main considering is given to the issue on the provision to form a task force, which will monitor the ceasefire. Also considered is the text of the final declaration of the parties,” Tumatov told reporters, according to Sputnik.
Moreover, the delegates at Syria reconciliation talks in Astana are expected to consider forming working groups to discuss the Syrian constitution, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
“One of the issues is forming working groups to discuss the constitution. I think this issue will be discussed today,” Tumatov told reporters.
On Wednesday Kazakhstan said talks initially slated for February 15 had been moved to February 16 for unspecified “technical reasons”.
Bilateral consultations ahead of the plenary session are reported to have been underway since Wednesday.
Yehya al-Aridi, a spokesman for the armed opposition told AFP Wednesday that they were participating, but as a “smaller” delegation than the one it sent for the talks in Astana last month, when it refused to negotiate directly with Damascus.
The opposition delegation will be led by Mohammad Alloush, a leading figure of the so-called “Jaish al-Islam” (Army of Islam), he confirmed.
The Syrian government is represented in Astana by its ambassador to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari.
Jaafari told Russian agency Ria Novosti on Wednesday that one-on-one meetings between the opposition and the government were “not planned”.