UN’s Outgoing Syria Envoy To Join Astana Talks

The UN’s outgoing Syria envoy on Wednesday will join the 11th round of Syria peace talks in the Astana format in the Kazakh capital.

Staffan de Mistura was invited to Astana by the Kazakh government on behalf of the guarantor countries of Turkey, Russia, and Iran, said a Tuesday statement by the UN office in Geneva.

Meeting with top officials from the guarantor countries, Mistura set to step down at the end of this month will work on establishing a committee to write a new constitution, the statement added.

Following a six-month hiatus, participants are also expected to discuss the cease-fire in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib and the release of prisoners.

Talks on Wednesday will be closed to the press, while Thursday’s main session where all the sides will meet and a final declaration will be read out will be open to the media.

The meeting is set to be attended by the guarantor countries, the Bashar al-Assad regime, and the Syrian military opposition, while the UN and Jordan were also invited to the meeting as observers.

Turkey will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedal Onal.

Also attending from Iran will be Hussein Gabri Ansari, assistant foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, and Alexander Lavrentiev, the Russian president’s special envoy for Syria.

Staffan de Mistura has been running intra-Syrian talks since late 2017 seeking to draft a new constitution for Syria and establish requirements for UN-supervised elections.

He has served for more than four years as the UN’s point person for the conflict in Syria.

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