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Jaafari Heads Regime Delegation at Astana Talks, Ahrar Al-Sham Decides on Participation within 24 Hours | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari delivers a press briefing in Geneva on April 18, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Beirut- The Syrian regime has already put together its representing delegation to attend the Kazakhstan Syria peace talks. Bashar al-Jaafari, regime instated Permanent Representative at the United Nations headquartered in New York, will be heading the regime’s delegation at Astana.

Syrian Opposition group Ahrar al-Sham is expected to finalize and issue its conclusive decision on whether it would be partaking at the talks alongside other opposition factions, Ahrar al-Sham leader Abu al-Hassan said.

“The movement (Ahrar al-Sham), should it decide to stand out from the Astana talks, will not disrupt the negotiations,” Abu Al-Hassan told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Spokesman for the Syrian Free National Party, an opposition party established in 2005, said that Ahrar al-Sham are likely to abstain from participation at the talks, especially that the group’s officials have incessantly insisted that the Astana peace talks are nothing but a Russian ambush.

On another hand, Vitaly Naumkin, a Russian advisor to U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura, said on Tuesday he still considered the Geneva talks on the Syrian conflict relevant.

“I am sure that on Feb. 8 there will be talks in Geneva and the process focused on a political resolution will continue,” Naumkin told reporters.

Russia recently launched a push for separate Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, later this month.

The Astana talks are also backed by Turkey but have not directly involved the United States, which led the Geneva talks.

News on Jaafari heading the regime delegation poured in from both Russian and Syria-based media outlets– The Syrian regime’s delegation “will be led by Syrian diplomat and permanent representative to the United Nations Bashar al Jaafari,” said a report in Syria’s Al-Watan daily.

It added that the regime’s team will also include “figures representing the military and the Syrian judiciary, so that the delegation will represent the whole Syrian state.”

The negotiations, which exclude the terror groups ISIS and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, will be held in the wake of a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, which was endorsed by the U.N. Security Council on December 31.