MP Ahmad Kuzbari to ST: Astana Talks Deals with Logistic, Military Situation in Syria

 Geneva and Astana talks on Syria complete each other as one of them is concerned with political track while the other is concerned with logistic and military situation on the ground in order to reach a solution to the nearly 7-year-old terror war imposed on the country.

These talks have positive outcomes as they elucidated the reality of events taking place in Syria before the public opinion and international community, led to the declaration of the ‘cessation of hostilities’ agreement last year and asserted adherence to Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, according to Dr. Ahmad Kuzbari, member of the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation to Astana and Geneva talks.

 The MP told the Syriatimes e-newspaper via e-mail: “One of the most important achievements of Geneva talks, launched in January 2014, is elucidating the reality of events taking place in Syria, i.e. terrorism, after the huge amount of misinformation circulated by many regional and international governments for notching up political goals".

He stressed that the talks conveyed the real voice of Syrian people to the international community and public opinion, which was only listening and seeing what these governments want.

“Geneva and Astana talks complete each other. Geneva talks deal with political track. However, Astana talks deal with logistic and military situation on the ground,” Dr. Kuzbari said.

Astana talks’ goals

He made it clear that Astana talks aim to halt hostilities for a specified period of time, to precisely pinpoint the places of ISIS and al-Nusra Front terrorists, to separate them from the so-called ‘armed opposition groups’ that joined or will join the cessation of hostilities agreement, to form a front for fighting terrorism, and to put guarantees for controlling borders from where terrorists flow into Syria.

The MP, who chairs the Legislative and Constitutional Committee in the Syrian People’s Assembly [Parliament], underlined: “Opposition in politics means one or more political parties or other organized groups that are opposed to the government. But when these groups refuse the existing political system and rebel against it by using arms, they turn to be armed rebels and not opposition".

He affirmed that the terror war being imposed on Syria led to the creation of new and strange terms by the governments of the countries involved in this 'repulsive war'.

"In Geneva talks, the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic apparently negotiates with the so-called ‘Riyadh platform’, while in fact it negotiates with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and his team. However, In Astana, the SAR’s delegation apparently negotiates with the so-called the ‘armed opposition’ while it actually negotiates with countries supporting and financing them,” he elaborated.

Dr. Kuzbari added that Mr. De Mistura is an international mediator and his task is to facilitate negotiation between parties in talks and not to fall into the trap of bias towards any party. “Hence- and in accordance with UN resolution No. 2254- the talks must be intra-Syrian under the leadership of Syria where the wide possible spectrum of Syrians can gather. We hope to achieve this in the future,” he said.

Moreover, the MP underscored that the basket of fighting terrorism is a top priority as it is impossible to implement any other agreement under terrorism or under the continuity of supporting terrorism by some regional and western governments.

“Fighting terrorism will remain a top priority till the liberation of every inch of the Syrian land and the restoration of peace and stability to all areas,” he said, indicating that the de-escalation zones are established in implementation of the ‘cessation of hostilities’ agreement announced on December 30, 2016.

De-escalation Zones selected in accordance with the situation on the ground

“The de-escalation zones are being selected in accordance with the military situation on ground. The main goals are to halt hostilities, unify efforts against terrorism, allow groups that exist in the de-escalation zones to join reconciliation deals after giving up weapons to receive amnesty from the government,” Dr. Kuzbari added.

As for the recent incursion of Turkish troops into the Syrian territories, the MP said: “One of the main results, which was agreed upon by the guarantor countries in Astana talks, including Turkey, is asserting adherence to Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity." "This is a Turkish recognition of Turkey's troops’ illegal incursion into the Syrian territories that paves the way for its withdrawal," he added.

Astana talks are co-sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey. The guarantors of the Syrian government are Russia and Iran, while the guarantor of the armed opposition is Turkey.

Since January 2014, fifteen rounds of talks have been held in Geneva and Astana, but the expected number of the forthcoming rounds to be held to reach a solution to the crisis in the country cannot be guessed for two main reasons, according to the MP.

"The expected number of the forthcoming rounds of talks for reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria depends on two points. The first is removing the main causes of the crisis by fighting terrorism, achieving peace, restoring stability and safety to the entire Syrian community. While the second is the existence of a negotiating party that does not receive orders from any other country’s government and it abides by the Syrian state’s national principles,” Dr. Kuzbari said.

He reiterated that the Syrian Arab Republic is a sovereign and independent state that has a government working in accordance with the state’s constitution. “Any talks must be based on the constitution which is not linked to the government, the opposition or the terrorist groups. The constitution is linked to the right of every Syrian citizen to define the future of Syria.”

The MP concluded by saying that supporting national reconciliation deals, adherence to the state’s secular principle and consolidating the principles of citizenship and the rule of law are main basis to protect the Syrian community.

It is worth noting that the 7th round of Astana talks on Syria is due to be held on October 30-31 in Kazakhstan, while Geneva 7 was held in July 2017.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

 

 

 

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