February 15-16 / Astana: Next round of peace talks on Syria
The peace in Syria initiative launched by Russia, Turkey and Iran in the wake of the December 29 ceasefire agreement continues. The capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, will be hosting a new meeting on February 15 and 16, to which the United States, the United Nations and Jordan are invited. The United Nations had scheduled a meeting on the same subject on February 8 in Geneva, which they decided to postpone until February 20 in order to take into account the outcome of the Astana meetings. Progress was made with the integration of this initiative in the official international agenda, an integration desired by Russia despite Iran’s initial unfavourable opinion. Note the total absence of the EU or any European country in this negotiating work, by the way.
February 17-19 / Munich: Security Conference
The US Vice President Mike Pence announced that he is attending the Munich Security Conference, along with the new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the EU Council President Donald Tusk and the EU Diplomacy high representative Frederica Mogherini. On the agenda, the following topics are to be discussed: the future of transatlantic relations and NATO after the election of D. Trump; the state of European cooperation in terms of security and defence; the Ukrainian crisis and relations with Russia; the war in Syria; the security situation in the Asia-Pacific region; terrorism; information warfare and climate threats.
February 20 / Geneva: Peace talks on Syria under UN auspices
If the Astana meetings are used to further exert pressure for the best possible respect for the cease-fire of December 29, their articulation with the UN-sponsored peace process 2016 is essential. Thus, four days after the next meeting of Astana, the UN special envoy for Syria, Steffan Mistura, has to hold a new round of negotiations after a complete halt in the process since April 2016. A delegation composed of 21 members has just been announced; they will represent the Syrian opposition against the representatives of the government.
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