Head of the Syrian government delegation to the Astana meeting, Bashar al-Jaafari said on Tuesday that the negotiations succeeded in reaching a deal to protect the ceasefire truce on the final day of talks in Astana.
“We worked over the last two days painstakingly around the clock to make this meeting a success, and we did everything we could to remove the obstructions. Therefore, we believe that (the) Astana meeting succeeded in achieving the goal of consolidating the cessation of hostilities for a specific period of time, which would pave the way for dialogue among the Syrians,” Jaafari told a press conference in the Kazakh capital.
He said it had been agreed that a trilateral commission to monitor the ceasefire will be set up by Iran, Turkey and Russia in consultation with the Syrian government.
Jaafari thanked Russia and Iran for their efforts in helping to ensure a successful ceasefire deal in order to move towards ending the bloodshed in Syria, eliminating terrorism and commence the reconstruction process.
The diplomat called on regional countries, including Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to end their support for terrorism and to reconsider their policies and correct their mistakes to serve the best interests of their own people.
Jaafari referred to an article in the meeting’s final document which calls on signatories to combine efforts to fight terrorist organizations in Syria, including the Islamic State group and Nusra Front.
“We assume that this should be applied practically by Turkey and the other parties, as this statement is binding on its signatories, and Turkey is one of the signatories,” he said.
He added that the specific objective of the meeting was “not to bargain,” but to strengthen the ceasefire agreement.
“It was distressful that we had to sit in the same room with other Syrians that are linked to foreign agendas and are working for foreign authorities, and some of them are committed to terrorist groups,” said Jaafari.
“However, no matter the cost, we would do that to save our state and our people. We do that according to a certain framework and a certain agenda, and also in light of the expected meetings, and we don’t do it without planning,” he added.
“Whatever the cost would be, we would do anything in order to stop the terrorist war on the Syrian people,” he reiterated.
Jaafari said that the duration of the internationally-backed ceasefire agreement should not exceed a year, after which military experts will decide upon technical details.
Jaafari said that the omission of the reference to Syria’s secularism in the statement was upon request from Turkey and the armed groups.
“For our part, we insisted on the issue of secularism being one of the features of the coming Syrian state that Syrians will agree upon, and our Iranian and Russian friends agreed to that; only the Turkish delegation and the armed groups’ delegation rejected that,” he said.
Jaafari added that the setting up of federal zones in Syria would be decided by all Syrians, adding that the decision must be put to democratic vote.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author