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Letter from the Executive Committee of the Astana Initiative

Letter addressed to UN Special Envoy for Syria, US Special Envoy for Syria and to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federation of Russia.

Your Excellency,
The Executive Committee of the Astana Initiative has worked to find a political solution in Syria. Given the current circumstances in Syria, we wish to draw your attention to the following points:
The Astana Conference was held twice in 2015 in the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, from May 25 to 27 and from October 2 to 5. Both conferences have resulted in an agreement amongst opponents called “The Astana Initiative”, with a goal of facilitating the political process.

Prior to both conferences, members of the follow-up committee have already established contact with the United Nations, particularly with the UN Special Envoy for the Syrian Crisis Staffan de Mistura, as well as certain permanent members of the Security Council, particularly Russia and the United States. We have invited them to take part in the first session, which took place in Astana. Both meetings gathered 70 Syrian opponents, representing the diversity of the parties of the Syrian opposition.

The Astana Initiative corresponds to several points made in the final communiqué of the meeting in Vienna as well as the 2254 UN resolution on Syria, voted unanimously by the members of the Security Council a few days ago.
We believe that Saudi Arabia has not followed the criteria and agreements made in Vienna by the International Community when they organised a conference with a group of Syrian opponents in Riyadh, selected under obscure conditions.

Attention to Mr. Staffan de Mistura UN Special Envoy for Syria
Saudi Arabia’s attitude since the start of the conflict and the fact that Saudi authorities have raised tensions between communities and encouraged the emergence of groups of extremist fighters should disqualify them from taking part in negotiations that will lead to peace in Syria.

Consequently, we support and praise the efforts of the countries that allowed the achievement of the 2254 UN resolution, which represents a positive development towards ending the suffering of the Syrian people.
We also want to stress the importance and necessity of including all representatives of the Syrian opposition standing against terrorism in any negotiations over the future of Syria on equal footing, without arbitrary exclusions, and without conferring special status on any political group.

Sincerely Yours,
The Executive Committee of the Astana Initiative

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