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Situation in Syria allows to resume talks between government and opposition — UN spokesman

March 05, 2016, 2:40 UTC+3
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UNITED NATIONS, March 4. /TASS/. The situation in Syria is developing in the right direction, which creates good conditions for resuming talks between Damascus and the opposition on March 9, Farhan Haq, a deputy spokesman for the United Nations secretary general, said on Friday.

The United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, gave it to understand that the current conditions in his opinion make it possible to resume the intra-Syria talks on March 9, he said.

When asked by TASS to comment on the pronouncements by a representative of Syria’s opposition High Negotiations Committee [HNC] who said that conditions for a new round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva are lacking yet, the United Nations spokesman said that the ceasefire is still in place.

It is a good sign, he stressed, adding that the United Nations is using the ceasefire to render humanitarian assistance to the population. According to Haq, United Nations agencies dispatched a humanitarian convoy for 20,000 people living in Damascus’ Kafr Batna suburb.

Riad Hijab, the head of the High Negotiations Committee [HNC], told a news conference in Paris earlier on Friday that conditions for a new round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva are lacking yet.

Commenting on de Mistura’s proposal to restart intra-Syrian contacts on March 9, Hijab said the ceasefire in Syria failed to drastically improve the humanitarian situation. "Supplies of food and medicines to besieged cities are delayed, and the population continues suffering from hunger," the HNC head said, also noting incidents of violation of the ceasefire.

Hijab admitted that the opposition had not made a final decision as to participation in the talks in Geneva due to resume on March 9.

Commenting on reports on ceasefire violations by terrorists and ongoing artillery shelling of Kurdish settlements from the Turkish territory, the United Nations spokesman said all such incidents are reported to the co-guarantors of the ceasefire agreements - Russia and the United States, which verify these data coordinate their efforts.

Despite these incidents, the situation is under control, Haq stressed.

A ceasefire regime brokered by Russia and the United States on February 22 officially came into effect in Syria at midnight Damascus time on February 27. This does not cover terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, both outlawed in Russia, and other groups recognized as terrorist by the United Nations Security Council.

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