The representatives of Russia, Turkey and Iran, which are peace underwriters in Syria, will hold a working group meeting in Astana on Monday, before the international meeting on the situation in Syria scheduled for July 4 in Kazakhstan’s capital.
The meeting will focus on further cooperation of the parameters of the four de-escalation zones on the Syrian territory that the parties agreed to establish at a conference on May 4.
Starting from May 6, according to the corresponding Memorandum, such zones have been established in four districts. Security zones with control checkpoints for civilians and humanitarian convoys, as well as ceasefire monitoring centers will be established on their borders.
The agreement, which includes a no-fly zone, prohibits military activities in the areas in question. The document is valid for half a year and may be automatically prolonged for a similar period. According to Special Presidential Representative for Syrian Settlement and the head of the Russian delegation, Alexander Lavrentyev, the document may be prolonged for an unlimited period of time.
According to Special Presidential Representative for Middle East and African Countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Moscow expects a whole package of documents on de-escalation zones to be signed after the negotiations on Syria on July 4-5.
“Meticulous work continues. We expect documents on de-escalation zones – and there will be several of them, a whole package – to be signed,” he noted. “We are the guarantors: we signed the memorandum on May 4, so, actually, everything has been set,” the diplomat said. “There are a number of specific points, and they are very important for the participants.”
Russian Defense Minister and General of the Army Sergei Shoigu said on June 30 that the establishment of the Syrian Committee for National Peace Settlement would be discussed in Astana.
Besides, the parties will discuss direct humanitarian access and the restoration of Syria’s infrastructural facilities. “The parties plan to work out a joint declaration on the humanitarian demining of Syria’s historical monuments that are on the UNESCO international cultural heritage list,” the Kazakh Foreign Ministry reported.
The guarantors of the truce also plan to adopt a resolution on the working group on the release of detainees.
Counter-terrorism will be one of the main issues on the agenda.
Apart from the guarantor states’ representatives, UN Envoy on Syria Staffan de Minstura, Jordan Foreign Minister’s Advisor on Political Affairs Nawaf Uasfi Tel and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones will also take part in the meeting on July 4-5.
The Syrian delegation will be represented by Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jaaafari. Ahead of the meeting, media reported that the Syrian armed opposition would not come to Astana. However, its representative Yahya al-Aridi refuted this information in an interview with TASS. The participants of the opposition delegation are not known yet.