Syria to send delegation to upcoming Astana talks

Damascus, Jan 18 (IANS) The Syrian delegation to the upcoming negotiations in Astana consists of 10 diplomats, parliamentarians, and military personnel, headed by the Syrian permanent representative to the UN, media reports said.

Bashar Jaafari will head the government delegation, which includes the Foreign Minister Advisor Ahmad Arnus, Syria’s ambassador to Moscow Riad Haddad, and Ahmad Kuzbari, a Syrian parliamentarian, Xinhua news agency reported.

Three Syrian officers are also in the delegation, al-Watan newspaper reported.

The negotiations schedule has been identified by only two topics: the first is an inclusive nationwide ceasefire between the rebel delegation and the Syrian one, and the second topic is “searching for the principles of the political solution”

This comes days after most rebel groups had agreed to attend the negotiations with Syrian government representatives in Astana later this month.

Conferring in Ankara on Sunday, nine rebel groups agreed to take part in the January 23 meeting in Astana, which was the result of a recent Turkish-Russian agreement.

The most prominent rebel group to attend is the Jaish al-Islam, or the Islam Army, the main rebel power controlling key areas east of the capital Damascus.

Each rebel faction will send representatives, reports said, adding that the names have already been handed over to the Turkish side, which will be coordinating with the Russians.

–IANS

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