29 Oct 2018 17:19

Astana talks on Syria to continue in previous format - Kazakh Foreign Ministry

ASTANA. Oct 29 (Interfax) - The Astana Process is aimed at putting an end to the armed hostilities in Syria, and the next round of talks will not concern political matters, Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aibek Smadiyarov said.

"The Astana Process will continue in its [earlier] format. We have said repeatedly that it is aimed at achieving a ceasefire and ending the fighting in Syria, it does not address political matters," Smadiyarov said in comments on the upcoming round of talks in Astana.

"We are doing preparatory work now, and we will agree upon the dates of this round of negotiations with the guarantor countries. We can say tentatively that they might take place in late November or early December of this year," he said.

The exact date and agenda of the talks "depend on the guarantor countries," Smadiyarov said.

It was reported earlier that after a long pause, the guarantor countries of the ceasefire in Syria had decided to return to Astana, which has hosted a total of nine rounds of talks. Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said tentatively that the talks could be held in November or December. The last meeting took place on May 15.