Syria peace talks postponed, says Russian Foreign Minister

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that negotiations on the Syrian conflict planned for 8 February in Geneva, has been postponed until the end of that month.

The upcoming talks to be hosted by United Nation in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, will follow two-day talks held between Syria’s warring sides, with the mediation of Iran, Russia, Turkey. The Americans, Europeans and Arabs who steered those negotiations were this time either reduced to observer status, or absent altogether. Saudi Arabia, once the rebels’ prime backer, is too preoccupied with its war in Yemen.

“The date of February 8 has been put back until the end of next month,” Mr. Lavrov told a meeting with minor Syrian Opposition representatives in Moscow to discuss peace talks in Kazakhstan that ended on Tuesday without a major breakthrough.

There was no confirmation from the United Nations on the latest plans for the next round of talks between the Syrian regime and the Opposition.

The latest peace initiative to halt fighting that has killed over 310,000 people since 2011 comes after the Syrian government, with the help of Russian and Iranian firepower, gave a crushing blow by ousting the rebels from eastern Aleppo last month.