KNC participation in Astana talks aimed at defending Kurdish rights in Syria: officials

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KNC leader Ibrahim Biro speaking during a forum in the Kurdish Qamishli city, northeast Syria. File photo

ARA News

Erbil – Russia and Turkey have finalised the preparations for the Syria peace talks in Astana. The talks, planned for Jan. 23, will bring the Syrian regime and the opposition to the table of negotiations.

The Kurdish National Council (KNC) has been invited to join the Astana talks as a representative for the Syrian Kurds, while the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and allied Rojava Self-Administration have been excluded from the talks.

The Kurds hope that the Kurdish issue will also be on the table of negotiations.

The PYD considers the Astana meeting as an opportunity to find a solution for the Syrian crisis, but the party expressed its disappointment for being excluded from the talks.

Khalid Ali, a leading member of the KNC, told ARA News that the presence of the Kurdish National Council at the Astana talks is better for the Syrian Kurds than boycotting the meeting completely.

“The KNC delegation, headed by Abdulhakim Bashar, has arrived in Astana after receiving the invitation to participate in the Syrian peace negotiations,” Ali confirmed. “The KNC participation in any such meetings is very important to guarantee the Kurdish rights in Syria.”

Rama Malla, a member of the Syrian Kurdistan Leftist Party, also supported the KNC’s participation in the Astana negotiations.

“We hope that the Astana meeting would bring about some positive results,” Malla told ARA News.

“All regional powers are working for successful Syria peace talks in Astana. Although we cannot predict whether any good will come out of this meeting, but the participation of the Kurdish National Council is a positive step, as there’ll be a representative for the Kurdish people to defend the Kurdish rights in these talks,” Malla said.

However, according to the PYD co-Chair Salih Muslim, excluding his party and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the upcoming Astana meeting was a mistake, limiting the talks’ scope and breadth.

Muslim told ARA News that “the SDF is one of the critical players,” whose endorsement would be required for any lasting agreement. He added that holding peace talks “without any participation from the SDF won’t lead to an actual solution.”

The Astana talks will take place in Kazakhstan’s capital on January 23, bringing together representatives from the Syrian regime and the armed opposition. Negotiators aim to build on a nationwide ceasefire that has largely held despite incessant outbreaks of violence.

“One of our priorities is reaching a truce agreement in order to stop the bloodshed in Syria,” Muslim stated. “A ceasefire would be the main accomplishment, and we won’t aspire for more from the Astana talks.”

“Finding a solution for the Syrian crisis cannot come from Astana,” the Kurdish leader concluded. “The real Syrian political solution must come from power centers [in Syria].”

Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh | Source: ARA News 

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