Narrative and key messages on Syrian talks in Astana

On January 23, Astana is scheduled to host talks between the Syrian government and the opposition. Russia, Turkey and Iran will serve as guarantors of the negotiations. All sides have made it clear that the upcoming talks are not an alternative to the Geneva Process and instead will complement it. The main task of the talks in Astana will be to create the conditions to resolve the conflict in Syria through the framework of the Geneva negotiations. Kazakhstan is offering a platform for the talks and will not be taking part in the negotiations.

The talks demonstrate that Kazakhstan is an open, friendly and modern country, as well as subtly communicate Kazakhstan’s contributions to global peace and security and its role as an objective mediator and a respected global partner.

1. Astana was chosen as a suitable platform to host these negotiations due to the fact that Kazakhstan is objective and neutral in its approach, as well as a reliable partner for all nations. Kazakhstan has friendly relations with Russia, Turkey, European Union states, as well as the United States.

2. Kazakhstan has built a reputation as an honest broker in international diplomacy across such issues as the Iran nuclear talks and the crisis in Ukraine.

3. Kazakhstan has experience acting as a mediator. The country has already hosted two rounds of talks involving representatives of the Syrian opposition in 2015. President Nursultan Nazarbayev also played a central role in mending relations between Russia and Turkey. Without President’s Nursultan Nazarbayev’s contribution, it is unlikely that these talks would have been arranged.

4. Kazakhstan has contributed to resolving the humanitarian crisis in Syria. The country sent approximately 500 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Syria this year in the form of food. Humanitarian assistance was also provided last year.

5. Kazakhstan is determined to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East, especially given the geographical proximity to the region. Following the talks, Kazakhstan will continue with its efforts to bring lasting peace and security to the Middle East, including through its initiatives at the UN Security Council.