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Syrian opposition to attend the upcoming second round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva

February 05, 2014, 1:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, February 05, 1:38 /ITAR-TASS/. The head of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF), Ahmad Jarba, has confirmed that his coalition would attend the upcoming second round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported commenting on Tuesday’s meeting between Jarba and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

“During a substantial and frank exchange of opinions, the sides stated that the process of political and diplomatic settlement in Syria as part of the Geneva-2 international conference should be continued in any case,” the ministry said Tuesday.

Geneva-2 is the name for a forum organized by Russia and the United States that sought to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis, which has claimed over 100,000 lives and displaced millions since its start in 2011, according to UN statistics.

Geneva-2 opened on January 22 in Montreux, Switzerland, and continued on January 23-31 in Geneva. Its first round ended with no particular progress. The parties to the Syrian conflict took a pause for consultations and are expected to resume the talks on February 10.

The Russian ministry also said Lavrov and Jarba stressed that the start of direct intra-Syrian talks on January 24 was important.

“Jarba confirmed the National Coalition’s participation in the second round of talks in Geneva,” the ministry’s statement also said. “Russia’s unchanged position in favor of ensuring the maximum possible representational nature of the opposition delegation… was perceived with understanding.”

At their meeting, Lavrov and Jarba “considered the results of the first round of dialogue between the delegations of the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva, emphasizing the necessity to reach practical accords, first of all in the humanitarian sphere,” the Russian ministry said.

Lavrov noted that the Geneva Communique should be implemented in full, including issues of the fight against terrorism, ceasefire, humanitarian aid supplies and exchanges of prisoners.

Syrians should themselves find mutually acceptable solutions to ensure unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria with account for the interests of all population groups, the statement said.

The Geneva Communique (or Geneva-1 Communique) was adopted on June 30, 2012 at a conference of an “action group” on Syria in Geneva. That conference is now commonly referred to as “Geneva-1.” Geneva-2 was a logical continuation of Geneva-1.

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