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Jordan joins the table in Astana for Syrian ceasefire talks

By Rudaw 6/2/2017
Kazakhstan's capital of Astana. Photo: AFP
Kazakhstan's capital of Astana. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — For the first time Jordanian representatives are in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, meeting with officials from Russia, Turkey, Iran, as well as the United Nations to discuss the implementation of the Syrian ceasefire agreement on Monday.

"Representatives of Jordan are expected to take part for the first time," Reuters reported a Kazakhstan ministry spokesman as saying. "This is about creating a mechanism to control the implementation of the ceasefire.”

Several ceasefires by the international community have been brokered over the course of the nearly six-year-long Syrian civil war, but an enforcement mechanism has been missing to keep government and opposition forces at bay.

“The task force is set to discuss the observance of the ceasefire by Syria’s conflicting parties, to elaborate measures of control and preventing ceasefire violations, of building up trust between the Syrian authorities and the opposition, and to look at matters of humanitarian assistance,” the Russian TASS news agency reported.

It was not announced what representatives from each country were meeting, but talks in Astana are planned to be held “regularly” according to TASS.

King Abdullah II of Jordan and US President Donald Trump discussed the establishment of safe zones during Abdullah’s visit to Washington last week.

Trump told ABC News last month he “will absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people." 

Flippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, opposed Trump’s solution of safe zones.

"Let's not waste time planning safe zones that will not be set up because they will not be safe for people to go back," said Grandi. "Let us concentrate on making peace so that everywhere becomes safe. That should be the investment.”

The Kurdish National Council (KNC or ENKS) attended last month’s Astana talks, but the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) had been excluded. 

Ibrahim Biro, head of the coalition of the KNC in Syria who attended Astana last month, told Rudaw that the Turkey and Syrian political armed opposition groups agreed to exclude the PYD from UN-led talks in Geneva later this month.

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