Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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Diplomatic efforts on Syria sag in Kazakh capital Astana

Astana, Kazakhstan
Talks on Syria spearheaded by Russia in Astana failed to edge the seven-year conflict closer to a political settlement Tuesday and cast the future of diplomatic efforts to end the crisis into uncertainty.
Backed by regime-allied Russia and Iran as well as rebel-supporting Turkey, the negotiations in Astana began in January last year, running parallel to talks overseen by the United Nations in Geneva.
The two-day talks involving both the Syrian regime and the opposition were the ninth round of Syria negotiations held in Kazakhstan to date.
But with Geneva talks stillborn and no notable gains made during the latest Kazakhstan round, the diplomatic push to end Syria's crisis appears to have entered a lull.
A joint resolution produced by the three guarantor countries Tuesday said the next high-level meeting on Syria would take place in the Russian city of Sochi in July.
But members of Syria's armed opposition present in Astana immediately ruled out attending the event in Russia.

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