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Kazakh capital seeks center stage with Syria peace talks

Nazarbayev promotes Astana as venue for international negotiations

Delegates at the fourth round of the Astana Peace Process on the Syrian conflict which met in May. (Courtesy Government of Kazakhstan)

ASTANA -- In its 20 years as Kazakhstan's capital, Astana has attracted a range of labels. Some observers have described its high-rise office blocks and themed shopping malls as a futuristic vision for urban living amid the harsh steppes of central Asia. Others have thought the city bizarre, focusing on its mock Arc de Triomphe and neoclassical opera house.

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