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Mixed signals from Syria peace talks in Astana

Signs of progress as well as stumbling blocks are emerging from the talks in Kazakhstan, aimed at ending Syria's civil war.

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Mixed signals from Syria peace talks in Astana

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There have been mixed signals on day two of Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.

As indirect negotiations resumed between President Assad’s government and the opposition on Tuesday, the UN’s Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said that Russia, Turkey and Iran, which convened the meeting, were close to a final statement to strengthen the current cessation of hostilities.

“You will have this afternoon much more news. At the moment we are still working, so I can’t tell you in advance what is the outcome,” he said.



However, reports suggest that rebel representatives are refusing to sign a final communique and that little has been agreed, beyond stressing the need for a political resolution and reaffirming a ceasefire brokered last month that each side accuses the other of violating.

“The discussion is mainly about the cessation of hostilities,” said Issam al-Rais, a rebel faction delegate.

“We are discussing the cessation mechanisms, how we implement real cessation, a real ceasefire on the ground.”

There is talk of the ceasefire being jointly monitored by Russia and Iran which back the Assad regime and Turkey which supports the opposition.



Here too though, reports suggest rebels are unhappy at Tehran taking this role.