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Russia’s envoy: Latest round of intra-Syrian talks leaves positive impression

April 29, 2016, 8:40 UTC+3

In Russian envoy's words, the attempts of the HNC to put forward ultimatums demanding resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad will lead to nothing

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

GENEVA, April 29. /TASS/. The latest round of the intra-Syrian negotiations that ended on April 27 has left a positive impression, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin said on Friday.

"Overall, this round has left a positive impression, but there was a fly in the ointment as well," he said referring to the suspension of the Riyadh group’s participation in the talks.

In his words, the attempts of the Riyadh opposition group of Syria (the High Negotiations Committee — HNC) to put forward ultimatums demanding resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad will lead to nothing.

"The real reason for the Riyadh group’s unwillingness to participate in the negotiating process is that it has failed to bring to Geneva an elaborated coordinated position on the political transition issues," he said. "Their narrow-minded ideas on this matter are reduced to only one thing — president Bashar Assad must step down."

"I think it's clear to everyone that the repeated attempts to put forward this senseless ultimatum will lead to nothing," Borodavkin said.

According to the Russian envoy, the Jayish al-Islam and Ahrah al-Sham groups have not formally joined the Syrian truce, they are urging jihadists to pool efforts in the fight against government troops.

"We hear statements from these groups that they have allegedly joined the cessation of hostilities," he said. "However, we have no official confirmation of this."

The diplomat noted that "at the same time, the leaders of these groups from time to time say publicly that, firstly, they are fighting shoulder to shoulder with Jabhat al-Nusra. Secondly, we have been hearing statements from them recently that the cessation of hostilities regime is ‘dead’ and that all jihadists need to join forces in the fight against government troops."

"If these groups are serious about looking for the opportunities of a political settlement of the Syrian conflict, they need to radically change their positions," Borodavkin said.

Some progress has been made in the process of separating opposition units from terrorist groups in Syria, Russian envoy went on to say.

"The groups that are willing to join the ceasefire must sign the relevant documents, to determine where they are and separate from the units of the Jabhat al-Nusra group [outlawed in Russia — TASS] they are densely mixed with on the battlefield," the ambassador said. "We hope this will happen exactly this way, since our US colleagues promised us to do this a long time ago. "And there is certain progress in this regard," he said.

Russia has nothing against holding a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), however, additional work is needed so that the results of such a meeting meet the expectations of the international community, Borodavkin noted.

"Essentially, we have nothing against the ISSG meeting. However, the event at this level should yield tangible results," he said. "So far, no such results are in sight."

"Apparently, additional work is needed to make sure that the results of the ISSG meeting justify the expectations of the international community, which will inevitably be linked to its convening," Borodavkin added.

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