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Date For Next Astana Meeting on Syria Announced

Oct. 19, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced, today, that the next Astana meeting on the Syrian cease-fire process will be held on Oct. 30-31, reported Sputnik.

"The talks will aim to agree on a provision establishing a working group that will deal with hostage and prisoner release, return of [fallen soldiers’] bodies and search for the missing,"

the ministry added. Negotiators will also look at how to combat international terrorism, and will make a joint statement on humanitarian demining efforts in Syria. Issues of mutual interest may also be raised during the talks.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is in Moscow where he met with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Oct. 18. The two met to "discuss ways of moving from de-escalation zones towards a more stable political settlement in Syria," de Mistura said, according to Tass. They also discussed the prospects of transition from the stage of creation of zones of de-escalation in Syria "to a more stable political settlement in Syria." Tass also reports that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has instructed de Mistura to intensify efforts to convene a new round of negotiations between Damascus and the opposition. It would seem, therefore, that a date still has not been set for the next Geneva meeting to discuss the process towards a political settlement of the Syrian conflict.