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Objective of Astana Peace Talks: Syria Should Belong to Syrians

Jan. 22, 2017 (EIRNS)—On the eve of the Jan. 23 peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, Sputnik reports in its Turkish edition that "The principal goal of Turkey is to secure peace in Syria, and the territorial integrity of the country," quoting Foreign Affairs Commission member and Deputy Hasan Basri Kurt of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The war has been going on for five years, Kurt said, and

"The meeting in Astana is the vital initiative of Russia and Turkey, aimed at reaching peace and stability in Syria. The whole world is treating this initiative with respect, and is watching the developments with anxiety."

Kurt said Turkey’s aim it to draw many more participants to the Syrian peace talks, and that the negotiations in Astana are going to become yet another step forward.

"It is worth stressing that the countries of the region were eager to express their initiatives about the talks, unlike in Geneva. It is highly unlikely that it is going to be the only and the final meeting. However, we hope that the participants in the talks will be able to agree on the continuation of the cease-fire and restoration of peace in the country."

Dr. Celalettin Yavuz, a former foreign policy advisor to the head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), told Sputnik about the goals of the Syrian opposition. He said one idea to be discussed in Astana would be to bring the unified opposition groups together with the government army to fight against terrorists groups in Syria,

"The Syrian government armed forces remain the major power in the country, which is able to draw together various groups operating in the country."

He said,

"The major aim of the negotiations in Astana is to agree on the participation of Russian and Turkish officers in the continued fight against the jihadists."

He said that Damascus should be the chief commander of the operations against Daesh (Islamic State).