- Title: Cessation of hostilities main focus of Astana talks - UN special envoy
- Date: 24th January 2017
- Summary: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN (JANUARY 24, 2017) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** FLAGS OUTSIDE RIXOS HOTEL UN SPECIAL ENVOY, STAFFAN DE MISTURA, SURROUNDED BY MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (English) UN SPECIAL ENVOY, STAFFAN DE MISTURA, SAYING: "We are working on a declaration that can reassure that the process of the actual cessation of hostilities becomes more solid. And that what we are working on. Every moment is important because until the last moment before the final declaration comes out there are very intense discussions because this is not about a paper it is about cessation of hostilities which means saving lives." DE MISTURA TALKING TO REPORTERS VARIOUS OF JOURNALISTS SPOKESPERSON OF SYRIAN OPPOSITION DELEGATION, YAHYA AL-ARIDI, TALKING TO REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESPERSON OF SYRIAN OPPOSITION DELEGATION, YAHYA AL-ARIDI, SAYING: "No, there will be no signing of the communique. The communique would be just issued by the parties - the Russian Federation, Turkey and possibly Iran - because of the fact that it was on the Moscow meeting." JOURNALISTS AT RIXOS HOTEL LOBBY
- Embargoed: 7th February 2017 08:59
- Keywords: Syria talks Astana Kazakhstan opposition
- Location: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN
- City: ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN
- Country: Kazakhstan
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00160FVNLZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Tuesday (January 24) that Russia, Turkey and Iran were closing in on a final statement reaffirming a cessation of hostilities between Syrian warring parties.
"We are working on a declaration that can reassure that the process of the actual cessation of hostilities becomes more solid," he told reporters. "This is not about a paper it is about cessation of hostilities which means saving lives."
Delegations from the Syrian government and opposition were holding indirect talks for a second day in the Kazakh capital at a time when Turkey, which backs the rebels, and Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, each want to disentangle themselves from the fighting.
That has led them into an ad-hoc alliance that some believe represents the best chance for progress towards a peace deal, especially with the United States distracted by domestic issues.
However, after two days of deliberations an initial draft communique suggests the powers have agreed little beyond reaffirming the need for a political resolution and to reaffirm a Dec. 30 ceasefire that each side accuses the other of violating.
Delegates from Russia, Turkey and Iran were wrangling over the terms of the final communique which would need to be approved - though not formally signed - by the government and opposition delegations.
Diplomats said there was a nuance in the language being used, with the Syrian government opposed to the use of the word ceasefire as opposed to cessation of hostilities, which suggests more short-term arrangements.
The opposition said there will be no signing of the final communique but only with the guarantors' signatures.
"No, there will be no signing of the communique. The communique would be just issued by the parties - the Russian Federation, Turkey and possibly Iran - because of the fact that it was on the Moscow meeting," spokesperson of the Syrian opposition delegation, Yahya al-Aridi, told reporters.
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