Previous efforts to kickstart the peace process in Syria have gone off the rails pretty quickly, and no one went in expecting much to happen. This time may be different, however, with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem saying he believes there is a “real chance” for a final settlement of the war at upcoming talks.
The date hasn’t been set for the Kazakhstan talks, backed by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, but with the ceasefire having taken hold tonight, and by all accounts getting off to a good start, there seems to be a chance for talks, and with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front included in the truce, possibly broader talks than have happened in the past.
Mouallem added that “everything is open for discussion, with the exception of national sovereignty, and the people’s right to choose its leadership.” That last point has been a sticking point in the past, with the US and Turkey both repeatedly insisting that President Assad and other Syrian figures need to not only be removed from power unconditionally, but permanently barred from contesting future elections in “free” post-war Syria.
This may end up in the way of the peace process again as the talks get closer to happening, but Turkey has also at times suggested they were open to Assad staying, and the process so far has key the US as far away as possible, so the opportunities for things to fall apart are somewhat limited.