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Russian-Iranian Disagreements about Astana Publicized | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Moscow – Few days before the Syrian talks begin in Astana, Russian and Iranian disagreements have surfaced especially after Moscow accusing Tehran of complicating things, and stated that a settlement in Syria is not possible without Washington.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, during an interview with Russia-1 Channel, confirmed that Iran indeed refused the participation of the U.S. in the talks. He added that Russia had invited U.S. representatives, which was also announced by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“We will welcome that [the participation of the U.S. in the talks]. The situation is very complicated. You know that there is also Iran like a very important player in the Syrian issue. Iranians are not welcoming this,” Kremlin spokesman added.

Peskov also stated that any deals on Syria are unlikely to be reached at the upcoming Astana talks, as too many parties are involved in the process.

“Any deals are unlikely to be reached there, as too many parties are involved in the process,” Peskov said.

Peskov also stated the same during another interview with BBC. “So it is a very complicated issue for a very careful play,” he described the situation.

This also happened as Washington announced that it won’t be sending a delegation to Astana, and its representation will be limited to its Ambassador to Kazakhstan, George Krol.

“Given our presidential inauguration and the immediate demands of the transition, a delegation from Washington will not be attending the Astana conference,” US State Department acting spokesman, Mark Toner said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

In Riyadh, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Ahmed al-Jubeir met with the Chairman of the high committee of the Syrian negotiations Riyad Hijab, where they discussed the latest developments of the Syrian crisis and the international efforts for solving it.

Meanwhile, Syrian regime and Hezbollah militia fighters continue to try to enter village of Barada valley, northwest Damascus.

Osama Abu Zeid, member of the military delegation of the Syrian opposition to Astana talks, said that the delegation met in Ankara with the Russian delegation. He added that they stressed on commitment to the ceasefire.

Abu Zeid also explained to the Moscow delegation the details of regime and Iran’s violations. He asked the Russian members to honor their commitments and take responsibility for what is really happening in Barada valley.

Sources close to the matter in south of Damascus told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that committee of families and rebels had informed the regime’s delegation of the freezing of negotiations between them until Astana talks are over.

Syrian regime had presented the opposition factions in that area with a reconciliation agreement, which has been negotiated for days.