Astana talks: Syrian government and opposition not signing final declaration

Astana Talks on the second day, 24 Jan

Astana talks continue on second day.

Yahya al-Aridi, a consultant for the opposition, has said that they will not sign the planned declaration by Russia, Turkey and Iran. “The negotiations for this began in Moscow. The declaration is not strong enough for the U.N. to bring it on its agenda. The Syrian government and opposition won’t sign it,” al-Aridi said.

The declaration draft, leaked to the media yesterday said Russia, Turkey and Iran remain against the Islamic State (IS) and Fatah al-Sham and keep them separate them from the Syrian opposition. The draft also says Russia and Turkey are planning to establish a set of mechanisms in Syria to supervise the cessation of hostilities.

Mistura: Final declaration close

However UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan Mistura said that a final declaration was close to being agreed on at the indirect talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Astana.

“We’re working for an agreement that can assure the actual cessation of hostilities to find a permanent solution” he told reporters. “This is not just a piece of paper, but a cessation of hostilities and saving lives. We’re not far from a final declaration.”

YPG: We are not bound by any decisions from Astana

The talks are the first to bring government and opposition delegations together since U.N.-brokered negotiations in Geneva were suspended last year. However the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union party (PYD), who were not invited released a statement on Monday saying they would not heed decisions made at Astana.

 “As we are not participating in these talks, we stress that we are not bound by any decisions issued from the Astana conference” the YPG said in a statement. “We, in the People’s Protection Units (YPG), believe the entities that are participating and that have sponsored these talks are part of the problem in Syria in the first place.”