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Tensions between Middle East countries must not affect Syrian settlement — diplomat

June 22, 2017, 12:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that relations between the Middle East countries are tense

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MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. Tensions between the Middle East countries must not influence the Syrian settlement process, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday, commenting on a report that Saudi Arabia was planning to withdraw from the Syrian opposition’s High Committee for Negotiations the representatives who support Qatar.

"Each oppositional group is supported by specific countries, and no one is trying to conceal it now," she said. "We used to say that an oppositional group is financed externally, but now we see how these countries are dividing spheres of influence within oppositional groups. It becomes clear now that some countries are not afraid even to lose face, when they overtly hamper the oppositional groups’ accession to the Astana peace talks."

Zakharova noted that relations between the Middle East countries are tense. "We assume that they should not impede the building of a dialogue on the Astana platform when they are sorting things out," she stressed.

The ministry’s spokeswoman elaborated that tensions between different countries that support the Syrian opposition and pressure groups had already affected the Astana peace process. "When we hear opinions from some capitals that the Astana peace process is on the verge of disruption… it could be on the verge of disruption, but not because of its irrelevance, but because states standing behind oppositional groups or pressure groups prevented them from coming (to Astana), almost physically kept them out," she explained. "Although tendencies within the opposition itself are clear: people who sincerely believe that Syria is a homeland to them, that the Syrian state should be saved, realize the importance of the Astana peace process."

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