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Putin Says Astana Talks Set Up a Mechanism for Monitoring Syrian Ceasefire

Feb. 27, 2017 (EIRNS)—During a meeting with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the intra-Syrian talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, paved the way for the Geneva talks.

"These talks [on Syria in Astana] reached unprecedented results," Putin said. "A mechanism for monitoring the Syrian ceasefire has been established which provided an opportunity to resume the Geneva talks."

"Kazakhstan played a very positive role, not only as the talks’ host, but it also influenced the positive results of the Astana meeting," the Russian leader said.

In an interview in Sputnik, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief adviser, Ilnur Cevik, commented on Turkish-Russian cooperation on Syria. He said, while Turkey and Russia have different opinions on the fate of the Kurds and the settlement in Syria, the leaders and diplomats from the two countries are "closely, carefully" examining them. Turkey believes that Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) is affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in Turkey, which Turkey has designated a terrorist group. Ankara was also against PYD’s participation in the Astana settlement talks.

On Feb. 27 Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, told reporters that the Kurds should participate in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

"The Kurds participation issue is still pressing. We believe that their representatives should be engaged in the Geneva talks on settling the Syrian crisis,"

the Russian diplomat stressed.

Despite these differences, Cevik said Turkey expressed thanks for Russian support of Turkey’s Euphrates Shield operation in Syria, which began Aug. 24, 2016.

"[Russian President Vladimir Putin] is providing large support to Turkey," Cevik said.

"We are very grateful to him for his position on Syria. The Turkish Army carried out a very successful operation in al-Bab. Today al-Bab is controlled by the Turkish Armed Forces.... Al-Bab is a town that is very important to us strategically.... I think we would not have been able to conduct a successful operation in al-Bab without Russian support, and we are very grateful to Putin and Russia Armed Forces for the cooperation on that issue."