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Russia will do its best to relaunch Syria peace talks at Munich conference — diplomat

February 10, 16:46 UTC+3 GENEVA
According to Russian Ambassador to the UN Office, Moscow hopes the meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich will make it possible to relaunch the process of the intra-Syrian talks
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Syria peace talks that were suspended in Geneva, Feb 1 2016

Syria peace talks that were suspended in Geneva, Feb 1 2016

© EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

GENEVA, February 10. /TASS/. Russia hopes that the meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Munich will make it possible to relaunch the process of the intra-Syrian talks, and they will resume in Geneva on February 25, Russian Ambassador to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin said in an interview published on Wednesday in the Swiss daily Tribune de Geneve.

When asked whether the ISSG meeting in Munich scheduled for February 11 will help relaunch the political process, the diplomat said," We hope so. At least, Russia will do everything in its power for that."

The UN-brokered negotiation process that began in Geneva on January 29 was suspended on February 5. "Russia regrets the decision to postpone the intra-Syrian talks and hopes that they will resume on February 25, as planned by UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, or even earlier," Borodavkin said. He recalled that "the reason for the suspension of the process was the fact that the opposition delegation of the Higher Negotiation Committee (formed in Riyadh after a conference of the opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on December 9-10 - TASS) had left Geneva." This was done under the pretext of "Russia’s and Syria’s failure to abide by certain preconditions."

"However, setting forth such conditions by the opposition was a direct violation of Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council, which points to the inadmissibility of such an approach," the ambassador said. "We regret that the oppositionists’ external patrons were unable to persuade them to take part in the political process in a constructive manner. As for the Syrian government delegation, it was the first to arrive in Geneva and was prepared to discuss all issues on the agenda. Staffan de Mistura described its approach as constructive."

Answering a question whether the presence of such personalities as representative of Jaysh al-Islam Mohammed Alloush in Geneva could hinder the talks, Borodavkin said, "We met some of our partners halfway and agreed with the participation of representatives of the Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham groups in a personal capacity. However, this does not change our attitude towards these groups, which we do not regard as negotiation partners. Many members of the International Syria Support Group consider them terrorist organizations."

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