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Syrian external opposition delegation to sum up Moscow visit results

April 17, 2014, 10:36 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Syrian opposition delegation is on a visit in Russia amid a pause in talks on Syrian settlement in Geneva
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MOSCOW, April 17. /ITAR-TASS/. The delegation of external Syrian opposition will sum up results of its visit to Moscow, where they had talks on prospects of resolving the current Syrian crisis.

The delegation includes Secretary General of the Syrian National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces Badr Jamous, Executive Director of the Syrian centre of political and strategic studies Radwan Ziyade, head of the working group on economic affairs of the Syrian centre of political and strategic studies Osama Qadi, chairman of the National Council of the Damascus Declaration Abroad Mahmoud al-Hamza and ambassador of the Syrian National Coalition and the country’s opposition in France Monzer Mahous.

The delegation has already had talks at the Russian Foreign Ministry. At a meeting with Russian Presidential Special Envoy for the Middle East and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikhail Bogdanov the interlocutors debated development of the situation in Syria and over the country and prospects for resumption of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva. “Russia drew attention of Syrian external opposition officials to no alternative to political and diplomatic ways to resolve Syrian crisis and the need for decisive alienation from terrorists and extremists,” the Russian foreign political agency said.

Meanwhile, the negotiators noted importance of ensuring the highest possible representation of the opposition delegation at intra-Syrian talks and involvement of a broad range of opposition movements, including those acting in Syria, in the political process.

For his part, head of the foreign Syrian opposition delegation Radwan Ziyade told Itar-Tass that a plan of “democratic changes” was presented to Bogdanov. The plan “reflects interests of all Syrians in Syria and abroad.” “We have discussed the issue of convening a new round of talks in Geneva and ways out of current crisis,” he said, adding that “On our part, it was noted that a new round of talks should be well-prepared.”

Infographics Syrian chemical weapons Syrian chemical weapons
Details on Syrian chemical weapons arsenal. ITAR-TASS Infographics
Ziyade added that foreign opposition “realizes the importance of political settlement of current conflict and the need to stop violence.”

At the visit members of the Syrian delegation also intend to deliver a report on Syria’s roadmap in transitional period on Thursday. Meetings between members of the Syrian external opposition delegation and representatives of the Russian expert community, including a meeting at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies, are also on the visit program.

The Syrian opposition delegation is on a visit in Russia amid a pause in talks on Syrian settlement in Geneva. Two first rounds of talks were held in Switzerland in late January and early February 2014. These talks resulted in several local ceasefire agreements at the places of battles, first of all, near the city of Homs that permitted to deliver relief supplies to people in these regions. However, the Syrian negotiating parties failed to reach principled agreements over solutions to current crisis then.

Russia calls for resumption of inclusive intra-Syrian talks with representatives of all political forces of society involved in them to ensure peace on a basis of equal rights for representatives of all ethnic and confessional groups. “We adhere only to peaceful settlement in full compliance with those decisions which were taken at the UN Security Council approving the Geneva peace process and demanding to stop support to terrorists and to prevent neighboring countries from actions related with provocations regarding chemical disarmament in Syria,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier.

Joint Special Representative of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi also takes efforts to resume negotiating process, though, in his words, there are serious difficulties on this path related with the need to form an agenda which would bring tangible results on the way to settle current conflict. For this purpose the aid of the UN Security Council is needed, Brahimi said.

Meanwhile, battles continue between radically driven gunmen and governmental troops in Syria. Representatives of civil population, including children, regularly fall victims of hostilities.

An operation for withdrawal and destruction of Syrian chemical weapons is on amid continued combat actions. According to latest reports of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) 65% of chemical weapon stocks had already been withdrawn. The operation is expected to be complete in June 2014 within UN deadlines, even despite the fact that opposition gunmen, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement, have already taken actions repeatedly to hamper it.

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