Astana Talks: Puzzle of Bringing 'Wolf, Sheep and Cabbage' Across the River

© Flickr / Ken & NyettaCentral Downtown Astana, Kazakhstan
Central Downtown Astana, Kazakhstan - Sputnik International
A source in the Russian delegation to the Astana talks on Syria compared them to bringing "a wolf, a sheep and cabbage from one bank of the river to another" in terms of difficulty.

ASTANA (Sputnik) – Representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry are going to take part in Astana talks on Syrian peace settlement that will start on January 23, a source in the Russian delegation told Sputnik on Sunday.

"Of course they [representatives of the Defense Ministry] will participate, this is how it has been planned," the source said.

The source pointed out that it would be a very difficult task to reach consensus between Syrian warring parties.

“Of course we have an unbelievable task in front of us namely to bring a wolf, a sheep and cabbage from one bank of the river to another,” the source said adding that the Astana talks would be the first ones, in which armed opposition would take part.

The Astana talks on Syrian settlement will start in the hotel Rixos President Astana at 07:00 GMT on January 23 and are expected to end at 07:00 GMT on January 24. The negotiations brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran will be held behind closed doors.

“[The Russian Defense Ministry's Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate] General Stanislav Gadjimagomedov will be the the main negotiator on military issues from the Russian Defense Ministry during coming talks in Astana,” the source said.

The delegations from Russia, Turkey and Iran as well as the UN's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura have already arrived in Astana.

Syrian army - Sputnik International
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The Syrian opposition groups agreed to attend the talks brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran as an attempt to end the six-year civil war in the country, which sees government forces fighting against a number of opposition and terrorist groups, including Daesh, which is banned in Russia and many other countries.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s delegation will be headed by ministry’s Director of Middle East and North Africa Department Sergei Vershinin.

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