Head of the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Jaafari said his assessment of the track of Astana is a positive one as long as it serves the main “noble” aim behind coming to Astana, that is achieving the consolidation of the cessation of hostilities and the separation of the armed groups that signed the agreement and from those who refused to sign it, meaning the separation between the groups that believe in political solution and the terrorists.
In a press conference following the plenary session, al-Jaafari said Astana 2 meeting has paved the way in front of the upcoming Geneva conference, which needs to take into account the outcomes of both meetings in Astana.
He affirmed that Syria is committed to the arrangements of the cessation of hostilities agreement, warning that those who breach these arrangements will be considered as terrorist targets that will be combated by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.
Al-Jaafari clarified that the reason why no final concluding statement was issued at the end of the meeting is the that the delegations of the Turkish side and the armed groups arrived late in Astana, noting that the Turkish delegation came with a low-level representation that is not up to the position of Turkey which claims to be one of the three guarantor countries.
He stressed that Russia and Iran, as guarantor countries, have succeeded in undermining the attempts aimed at bringing efforts at Astana back to square one.
He made it clear that Turkey has failed to commit to controlling border in light of its responsibility to do so, but has rather facilitated the entry of tens of thousands of terrorists into Syria, stressing that decisive measures should be taken to close the Turkish border in front of the flow of terrorists into Syria.
“Turkey can’t play both roles of causing a fire and fighting it at the same time,” said al-Jaafari, affirming that Turkey must withdraw its invasive forces from Syria and respect the statement of Astana 1 meeting that stressed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.
In his speech during the plenary session, al-Jaafari said “we look forward to having Astana track continued and be successful to the effect of serving the hopes and aspirations of the Syrian people in having security and safety restored all over Syria.”
Head of the Russian delegation to Astana meeting AlexanderLavrentyev , in turn, noted that since the first Astana meeting, there have been great efforts to secure the continuation of the cessation of hostilities regime.
“Through joint efforts, we can bring the viewpoints closer and establish peace in Syria,” said Lavrentyev, adding that “our mission is to support the cessation of hostilities regime in Syria.”
For his part, head of the Iranian delegation Hossein Jaberi Ansari stressed during the plenary session commitment to providing help in solving the crisis in Syria.
“We see that the impost important role at Astana is to start dialogue on the ceasefire, and we are working on the basis of preserving the sovereignty of countries, and we call on all countries to determine their role regarding the future of Syria and its people who have suffered a lot throughout this crisis,” he said.
Ansari also called on everybody to exert enough efforts to launch the Syrian dialogue, considering that the agreements already reached would help in achieving that.
In a statement to the reporters, Ansari said what is important at this stage is to consolidate the ceasefire in Syria.
He pointed out that Astana track is not a substitute for any other tracks, stressing however that this track has advantages that can be invested to resolve the crisis in Syria.
Earlier on the day, spokesman of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anwar Zhaynakov announced that bilateral consultations of the delegations participating in Astana meeting were held prior to the plenary meeting.
Director of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s Department of Asian and African Affairs Aidarbek Tumatov told reporters that the possibility of setting up an operational group that will monitor the cessation of hostilities agreement is under consideration.
Tumatov added that issues related to the joining of specific areas to the agreement are also being discussed, asserting that the parties were also considering a draft final statement.
Participants in the international meeting on settling the crisis in Syria in Astana plan to complete talks today and take a specific decision, according to Tumatov.
The Astana meetings provide an opportunity to discuss practical matters while the political aspects of solving the crisis in Syria are considered at the Geneva talks,” Tumatov elaborated.
The first Astana meeting on settling the crisis in Syria, which was held on January 23-24, affirmed in its final statement commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and focused on strengthening the cessation of hostilities and fighting terrorism.