efe-epaNur-Sultan

The thirteenth round of negotiations on the ceasefire in Syria conflict concluded Friday in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, without concrete developments, although participants highlighted the progress in the formation process of the constitutional committee, one of the main topics of discussion.

In a joint statement published at the end of the Astana Process meeting, Russia, Iran and Turkey, the three guarantors of the ceasefire decreed in Syria in 2016, "expressed satisfaction with the progress made on finalization of the composition and the rules of procedure" of the body called on to write a new constitution for the Arab country.

They also reiterated their commitment to the creation of the committee and their willingness to facilitate its convening "as soon as possible."

The thirteenth round of consultations on the conflict in Syria was held in Nur-Sultan in the presence of delegates from Russia, Iran and Turkey, the Syrian opposition, Bashar al-Assad’s regime and a representative of the UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen.

The head of the Syrian delegation, Bachar al-Jaafari, confirmed to journalists that during the consultations in Nur-Sultan "progress was made" in the creation of the constitutional committee.

In addition, the Syrian representative assured that Damascus had also reached an agreement with the United Nations on this matter, which Pedersen, who visited Damascus recently, "will transfer to other parties" involved in the settlement of the Syrian conflict.

The host country also reported that during the current round of negotiations of the Astana Process the Syrian government and opposition had agreed on a "commitment" on the composition of the Syrian constitutional committee.

"The respective text is being drafted," said the Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s director of the Asia and Africa Department, Yerzhan Mukash.

The Kazakh diplomat said that "there were six names left (for consensus) and it seems that they have agreed.

"The main achievement of the Astana Process in the Kazakh capital has been the creation of four de-escalation zones in Syria - in the provinces of Idlib, Homs, Ghouta and on the border with Jordan -, areas where any military activity is banned, including airplane flights.

The last rounds of the talks in this format parallel to the consultations on Syria in Geneva ended without tangible progress.

The current talks in Kazakhstan coincided with a unilateral cessation of hostilities in the province of Idlib, declared by the Syrian Army in compliance with an agreement made in September between Russia and Turkey to demilitarize the area.

In this regard, the head of the Syrian armed opposition delegation in Nur-Sultan, Ahmad Toma, expected "an improvement" in the situation in Idlib "in the next few days" and urged the Syrian regime to keep its promises.

The next round of consultations in the Astana Process are expected to be held in the Kazakh capital in October. EFE

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