Syria Peace Talks in Astana Postponed: Kazakhstan Foreign Ministry

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Russia, Turkey and Iran have postponed a planned round of talks on Syria in Kazakhstan, which Moscow had proposed to hold on June 12-13, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

A spokesman for the ministry said it was unclear when the next round of negotiations, which have also involved the Damascus government and some rebel factions, could take place, Reuters reported.

On May 16, the sixth round of Syrian peace talks was held under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) in the Swiss city of Geneva as part of efforts to facilitate a political resolution of the deadly conflict in the Arab country.

The five previous rounds of the UN-mediated negotiations in Geneva brought together representatives from the Damascus government and opposition groups but failed to yield concrete results.

Syria’s warring sides have also attended four rounds of peace talks brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey in the Kazakh capital, Astana. The Astana talks have most recently produced a memorandum of understanding on de-escalation zones in Syria, sharply reducing fighting in the country.

The agreement also envisages the creation of conditions for the delivery of medical assistance, the restoration of damaged infrastructure, and the return of displaced civilians to their homes.

Over the past six years, Syria has been fighting foreign-sponsored militancy. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimated in August that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the Syrian crisis until then. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

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