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Russian diplomat blames Riyadh opposition for suspension of inter-Syrian talks

February 04, 21:47 UTC+3 GENEVA
The other parts of the Syrian opposition, formed in Moscow and Cairo, as well as the internal opposition which had arrived from Damascus were ready to continue the talks, the diplomat says
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GENEVA, February 4 /TASS/. The Riyadh group of Syrian opposition is to blame for the suspension of the inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva, Alexey Borodavkin, Russian ambassador to the UN Office in Geneva, said on Thursday.

"The talks were suspended after part of the [Syrian] opposition, elected at the Riyadh conference of opponents to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, had left Geneva," Borodavkin said.

"The other parts of the [Syrian] opposition, formed in Moscow and Cairo, as well as the internal opposition which had arrived from Damascus were ready to continue the talks. The government delegation also had no plans to leave," the ambassador said.

Borodavkin criticized the Riyadh group’s representatives who tried to justify their stance. "This group said that it was leaving Geneva because the government delegation had failed to meet their demands on humanitarian issues and because the government troops, with Russian air support, had launched an offensive on Aleppo," he said.

"They and their patrons are pretending that they do not know that U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254 prescribed to start the inter-Syrian talks without any preconditions. The [Syrian] government delegation and the [Syrian] opposition delegation formed in Moscow and Cairo did exactly what they were supposed to do - they demonstrated a constructive approach," the diplomat explained.

Borodavkin gave some other examples to prove that Damascus representatives and the opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who approached each other at consultations in Moscow and Cairo, had arrived in Geneva with an intention to reach an agreement.

"First, the government delegation agreed to consider a list of persons to be released which had been handed over by the Riyadh group; second, the government opened a relief corridor to Madaya. The opposition did not answer with reciprocity and is refusing to provide access for relief convoys to Fua and Kafraya blocked by Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra. Third, Damascus had no objections to the inclusion of the leaders of Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham terrorist groups, which both we and the Syrian government consider to be terrorist, in the opposition delegation," Borodavkin concluded.

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