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High Negotiations Committee favors greater role for Russia in Syria peace process — Moscow

May 19, 4:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The HNC delegation and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov on Thursday, the sides exchanged opinions on the progress and perspectives of the UN-sponsored reconciliation talks

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MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. At a meeting with a senior Russian diplomat in Geneva, a delegation of the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee said Russia should play a greater role in the Syrian crisis settlement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

During the meeting of the HNC delegation and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov on Thursday, the sides exchanged opinions on the progress and perspectives of the UN-sponsored reconciliation talks, including in the context of the recent proposal by the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura to organize expert meetings for a discussion on constitutional issues.

‘The Russian side confirmed the need for a constructive discussion by the sides of all provisions of the previously agreed agenda, including anti-terrorism efforts. The importance of progress on the constitutional aspects was stressed, as well as Russia’s efforts to render humanitarian assistance to the Syrian population in need," the ministry said.

"The partners generally agreed to this approach, calling for boosting the role of Russia in the quest for ways to settle the Syrian crisis," the statement reads.

The HNC delegation also noted "usefulness of maintaining regular contacts with Russian representatives within the framework of the Geneva negotiation process."

The fifth round of the intra-Syrian talks began in Geneva on May 16 and involved the HNC, Moscow and Cairo opposition groups. Besides, members of the so-called Astana group and the united Damascus platform were also present in Geneva but did not participate in discussions. This round of talks is expected to end on May 19 or 20.

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