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Syria’s government delegation not refusing to meet with opposition in Moscow

January 21, 2015, 16:51 UTC+3 BEIRUT
The governmental delegation at inter-Syrian preparatory consultations on January 28 in Moscow will be headed by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem
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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem


BEIRUT, January 21. /TASS/. A delegation from Syria’s government will “not refuse to hold meetings with someone from opposition members” invited for the Moscow talks next week, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Wednesday.

Muallem, who will head a governmental group of negotiators at inter-Syrian preparatory consultations on January 28, said the participants are to agree on “convening a conference on a dialogue that will define Syria’s future.”

“Those opposition figures who will come to Moscow will take part in the future dialogue and those who will boycott the meeting will have no further role,” Muallem, who is also Syria’s deputy prime minister, told in an interview with Al Ekhbariya TV channel.

Syria’s top diplomat warned that among the regional and foreign states there are those who are not excited about the news that Moscow will host inter-Syrian contacts.

“These external forces will try to disrupt the meeting. Therefore there are political attitudes that the goal of the conference is to necessarily topple the regime,” he said.

Muallem said the participants of the meeting should distance themselves from such stances.

The minister also characterized Moscow’s venue as a “friendly territory.”

“In contract to conferences held a year ago in Montreux and Geneva there will be no foreign sides there which will try to exert pressure and turn the participants of talks against each other,” he said.

He said this meeting is held only between Syrians themselves, a governmental delegation and opposition figures with the aim of “reaching an agreement on a future dialogue.”

The latest high-level talks on Syria’s future, known as the Geneva 2, took place almost a year ago. Since then, no steps have been taken to resume the inter-Syrian contacts.

Syria’s civil war, which began in the early spring of 2011, has so far killed nearly 200,000 people, according to the United Nations figures.

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