According to Inside Syria Media Center, UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has recently been invited to Astana, Kazakhstan into the special meeting on the settlement of the Syrian conflict. However de Mistura hasn’t yet confirmed his readiness to become a part of such negotiation process. Possibly, one of his assistants will attend in his place.
The preliminary date of conducting a meeting in Kazakhstan has been scheduled on January 23, 2017. The Kazakh authorities have stated a willingness to join negotiations and to assist in any other way to achieve a political settlement. All the necessary conditions have been created in Astana to achieve good results, which could be documented and submitted to the UN Security Council for the consideration and taking some appropriate actions.
Although the projected talks in Astana will not take place in the same framework as earlier talks in 2016 between Syrians at the UN in Geneva, facilitated by de Mistura, his invitation to Kazakhstan is not accidental. Astana’s platform could become an additional area on the normalization of the negotiation process and it could attract other countries to participate in the talks. Any efforts to resolve the conflict peacefully are welcomed by the hosts of the summit. That is why it is important to participate in the negotiations for all the parties of the conflict including the special envoy. Possessing the UN mandate, De Mistrura had to organize such an event long ago.