Peace talks of Russia, Turkey & Iran begins in Kazakhstan

A US military base in al-Asaliyah Syria. AFP

During the Monday meeting, the participants explored the draft statement of the Ninth Round of Astana Talks on Syria Crisis.

According to a joint statement issued by the tripartite countries at the 9th round of Astana talks on Syria, the third meeting of the "Working Group on the release of detainees/abductees and handover of the bodies as well as the identification of missing persons by three Guarantors' representatives with the participation of the United Nations and ICRC experts" will be held in Ankara in June 2018.

The trio has been mediating the negotiations in the Kazakh capital since January 2017, a month after they joined efforts and brought about an all-Syria ceasefire.

The final statement underlined the "key role" the four safe zones are playing in preserving the ceasefire regime, saying their demarcations, which were outlined in Astana last May, need to be respected.

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Among other things, the statement also reaffirmed the determination of all three governments to eliminate what remains of all terrorist groups, including ISIS and al-Qaeda and related groups from Syria.

The worldwide meeting on the settlement in Syria will be held in Astana on May 14-15. According to Kazakhstan's Kazinform news service, Toma told the plenary session that Astana is the only place where the Syrian opposition wants to hold negotiations and will not go to another venue.

They revealed an agreement to hold consultations with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura and the Syrian parties to "prepare the suitable conditions to launch the constitutional committee in Geneva, as soon as possible".

Turkey, Russia and Iran also held bilateral meetings during the ninth round of Syria talks.

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