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Combat operations against terrorists in Syria to continue — Russian diplomat

April 19, 3:27 UTC+3 GENEVA
"All the speculations claiming the ceasefire is dead are absolutely misleading and groundless," the Russian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Alexei Borodavkin said
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© EPA/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

GENEVA, April 19. /TASS/. Speculations about the demise of ceasefire in Syria are questionable and ungrounded and the Syrian Army will continue struggle with terrorists with assistance from the Russian Aerospace Force, the Russian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Alexei Borodavkin told TASS on Monday.

"All the speculations claiming the ceasefire is dead are absolutely misleading and groundless," he said. "The people spreading them can't be trusted."

"The combat actions that the Syrian Armed Forces are conducting with assistance from the Russian Aerospace Force aim to suppress the terrorists from Jabhal al-Nousra and the Islamic State and they will continue," Borodavkin said. "Incidentally, that's precisely the objective specified by the UN Security Council's Resolution 2254.".

Extremists raise upper hand in delegation of Syrian opposition's negotiating committee

Decision of the Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee to suspend participation in the inter-Syrian talks in Geneva proves that extremists have raised the upper hand in its delegation, Borodavkin said.

"We regret the HNC delegation's decision to suspend its participation in the talks," he said. "It's an erroneous step on their part."

"The reasons the HNC cites to explain for its renunciation of the talks can't stand any criticism," Borodavkin said.

"Suspended participation in the talks only proves that, unfortunately, extremists have prevailed in its delegation," he went on. "In fact they didn't want any negotiations at all from the very beginning and they kept putting forward conditions and ultimatums."

"They hope for a continuation of the armed conflict in the country," Borodavkin said. "Unfortunately we can see quite clearly they draw on support from some of the regional countries."

The talks will continue

He said the talks would continue anyway, since there are the Moscow, Cairo, and Hmeimim delegations of the opposition apart from the ‘Riyadh group’. They maintain close political positions and make up the sector of the moderate Syrian opposition capable of signing agreements.

"It looks like these groups will set the tune to the negotiations - quite naturally, in combination with the opposite party to the talks, which is the Syrian government delegation."

"In this connection, I’d like to say the Damascus government representatives look very encouraging at these talks and the fact has been recognized both by the UN and by observers,"

Borodavkin said. "They did a good job in the run-up to the talks and now they are conducting them earnestly and in a bid to get fair results," Borodavkin said.

The High Negotiations Committee said on Monday it was suspending its participation in the inter-Syrian talks. It specified three conditions for its return to the conference table.

The conditions were the delivery of humanitarian aid to remote parts of the country, release of prisoners, and observance of ceasefire by the Syrian government.

Syrian opposition committee made erroneous decision

Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee made an erroneous step as it decided to suspend participation in the inter-Syrian talks in Geneva and its move proves that extremists, who put stakes on the continuation in Syria, have prevailed in its ranks, Alexei Borodavkin said.

"We regret the HNC delegation's decision to suspend its participation in the talks," he said. "It's an erroneous step on their part."

"The reasons the HNC cites to explain for its renunciation of the talks can't stand any criticism," Borodavkin said.

"Suspended participation in the talks only proves that, unfortunately, extremists have prevailed in its delegation," he went on. "In fact they didn't want any negotiations at all from the very beginning and they kept putting forward conditions and ultimatums."

"They hope for a continuation of the armed conflict in the country," Borodavkin said. "Unfortunately we can see quite clearly they draw on support from some of the regional countries."

In connection with the grounds cited by the NHC for its decision to leave the talks - a deteriorating situation on the ground and difficulties with providing humanitarian aid - Borodavkin recalled that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a telephone conversation a mere three days ago that ceasefire was observed in general while Russia and the U.S. were doing everything in their power to build it up and bring all the armed opposition groupings into it.

"Big efforts in terms of reconciliation of the conflicting sides are made by the center for appeasing the parties to the conflict, which is located in Hmeimin," the ambassador said.

He pointed out the data suggesting more than sixty opposition groupings have joined the ceasefire plan to date with the aid from the Center.

Borodavkin also mentioned the situation around humanitarian aid deliveries, saying the five years of the civil war in Syria had brought immense suffering and deprivation to the Syrians.

"A radical solution to the problem will be possible only bloodletting in Syria stops and political settlement of the conflict is achieved," he said.

"Over the past several months, the Syrian government’s flexibility has made it possible to solve many humanitarian problems and convoys with relief supplies are heading to different towns and villages in Syria right now and that’s why the claims about a worsening humanitarian - something the HNC is doing - mean purported distortion of reality beyond recognition," Borodavkin said.

 

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