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Kazakhstan postpones Syria talks by a day

Kazakhstan postpones Syria talks by a day

Kazakhstan said Tuesday that a new round of Astana talks on the Syria conflict led by Russia, Turkey and Iran will take place behind closed doors, as the make-up of any rebel delegation remained unclear.

The talks are being brokered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's allies Russian Federation and Iran and rebel backer Turkey, which are all key players in the conflict.

Kazakhstan, Moscow's close political ally, said last week the two-day talks, to which United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, had also been invited, would focus on consolidating the Syrian ceasefire.

This was the second meeting between the two diplomats before the talks.

"The government is ready.as part of efforts towards the next meeting in Astana to exchange detainees for men, women and children - civilians and soldiers - kidnapped by terrorists", SANA said, referring to the rebels.

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Muslit said the HNC, which includes rebel groups and political opponents of Assad, wanted to start the negotiations by discussing a governing body to oversee the transition.

De Mistura says the talks will be in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 aimed at ending the conflict in the Arab country. The Syrian government said on February 13 it was ready to agree on prisoner swaps with rebel groups.

Rebel groups had threatened to boycott the Moscow-backed talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, saying Russian Federation had failed to secure Damascus's compliance with the ceasefire.

All the parties involved in the Syrian dispute will be present tomorrow, Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman, Anuar Zhainakov, announced.

"A second global meeting on Syria is due in Astana these days", Zakharova said.

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