Hope for confidential dialogue in Astana

 By Arthur Dunn

The Syrian conflict, it seems, has been a long-awaited breakthrough. The parties are willing to sit at the negotiating table in the broadest format. Discuss possible ways of resolving the protracted and bloody confrontation at this time intend to not only the direct participants, but also those who in one way or another involved in this conflict. And to do so they are ready for the most, perhaps, a neutral and therefore very suitable for this area - in the capital of Kazakhstan - Astana.


Negotiations on the settlement of the Syrian conflict lasting almost since the beginning of the conflict, more than five years. During this time, we change the format of the site and discussions, as well as the list of participants. The meetings in Lausanne, Geneva and Vienna round formats was years of unsuccessful attempts to stop the civil war and brought already, according to various sources, it has become about 400 thousand victims. Nearly seven million Syrians have been forced to become refugees. Syrian tragedy is obvious to all. Six years of the Syrian crisis, and in particular in 2016, showed that there is no force in the world, able to establish control over the entire country


It is more important to answer the question "What should I do?". And it is understood by all parties directly or indirectly involved in the conflict.


Alliance Russian, Iran and Turkey - the first step on the way to the informal section north of Syria and the recognition of each country's right to control over certain areas.


The readiness to take part in the negotiations already stated by representatives of the official authorities and the moderate opposition to Syria, except for the representatives of three of the alliance of Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Support for the meeting at the Astana site expressed in the United States, the United Nations and the Organization of China. The initiative in this case came not from Astana. Interest in the peace negotiations on Kazakhstan's territory is expressed presidents of Russia and Turkey in a telephone conversation with Nursultan Nazarbayev. The Kazakh leader said in response its readiness to provide a platform and provide all the necessary conditions for such negotiations. Now this issue is already being discussed at the level of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the aforementioned countries.


Why Astana? Such a choice few people are surprised. Kazakhstan - is neutral and does not not objective, not only to the Syrian issue. And it is very important for all parties to the conflict. In addition, Kazakhstan has repeatedly played the role of peacemaker. Official Astana has played a significant role in the normalization of relations between Russia and Turkey in the most acute phase of the conflict between the two countries because of the downed Russian plane. In addition, Kazakhstan has also become an important mediator in the settlement of the Iranian nuclear program and has repeatedly declared its readiness to organize the diplomatic ground for talks to resolve the situation in the Donbass. Considering all these factors, experts expect that talks in Astana will be more successful than the meetings in the Geneva format, which some politicians have openly called "a failure."


Also it should be noted that Astana is represented twice its territory for negotiations, currently operates only accepted by all interested parties a document on the settlement of the Syrian crisis - Astana Declaration.


I must admit that these negotiations, although the date and organizational issues have not yet been agreed, are waiting for a lot - to stop the bloodshed and to achieve an agreement between Damascus and the part of the Syrian opposition, which has the ability to sense and agree. And for those and for others Kazakhstan - a respected country, a significant player in the international arena, so there is hope that the dialogue finally become more trusting, and therefore more constructive.


Meanwhile, some experts believe that the "Astana" round of negotiations could play though pivotal, but not the last role in resolving the conflict. "Astana will play a crucial, but not the last role in the settlement of this conflict. This opposition is protracted. Therefore, the negotiations in Astana, of course, will be of great importance, but the conflict is not settled by only one of the meeting. In my opinion, it is necessary to establish a permanent platform. It is on this issue "- said the expert, director of the Institute of the State history ministry of education and science of Kazakhstan Burkitbay Ayagan.


It's hard not to agree. Although it is possible that in case of success of the first negotiations in a new format in Astana, Kazakhstan just might become that a permanent platform for Syrian dialogue in an environment where other formats themselves actually discredited.






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