Syria rebels deny receiving invitation to Astana peace talks

UN-sponsored Syria peace talks from 23 Feb UN Syria envoy

The talks, which were delayed by one day for "technical reasons", are likely to focus on bolstering a shaky cease-fire brokered by Moscow, Tehran and Ankara and to facilitate the creation of a "monitoring mechanism" to maintain the truce.

Al-Muslit also said the HNC had yet to receive an agenda for the negotiations that are due to begin on 23 February after initial consultations beginning on 20 February.

A new round of United Nations -brokered peace talks for Syria is scheduled for February 23.

Russian Federation and Iran, close allies of President Bashar Assad, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, previously pledged to enforce the cease-fire, but both sides have alleged repeated violations.

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"The government is ready.as part of efforts towards the next meeting in Astana to exchange detainees for men, women and children - civilians and soldiers - kidnapped by terrorists", SANA said, referring to the rebels. He said the negotiations should start with discussion of the transition. Syrian opposition representatives, who have threatened this week to boycott the talks, are not happy with the attitude of Russian Federation to push the regime to comply fully with the cease-fire, a Turkish official told Hürriyet Daily News. The Syrian government has not yet responded to the report on state media.

Rebels will send the same delegation to Thursday's talks, headed by Mohammad Alloush of the Islam Army rebel group.

All the parties involved in the Syrian dispute will be present tomorrow, Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman, Anuar Zhainakov, announced.

During the meeting with representatives of both delegations in attendance, the two sides exchanged views on the latest developments on Astana talks process and the agenda for the second round of the worldwide meeting aimed at finding a political solution for the Syrian crisis.

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