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Syria’s HNC delegation decides to take pause in peace talks — spokesman

April 18, 19:13 UTC+3 GENEVA
This decision is not suspension of the talks, neither is it withdrawal from them
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A general view at the opening of a meeting of Intra-Syria peace talks with the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) delegation and UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura

A general view at the opening of a meeting of Intra-Syria peace talks with the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) delegation and UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura

©  EPA/XU JINQUAN / POOL

GENEVA, April 18. /TASS/. The delegation of Syria’s opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) to the intra-Syria talks in Geneva has decided to take a pause until the Syrian government implements United Nations Security Council resolution 2254, HCN’s spokesman Riyad Naasan Agha wrote on his Facebook account on Monday.

According to Agha, after a many-hour coordinating session in Geneva earlier on Monday members of the Riyadh group of the Syrian opposition "took an important decision to postpone their participation in the talks."

This decision, in his words, is not a suspension of the talks, neither is it withdrawal from them. It is "a possibility for others [the government] to fulfil United Nations Security Council resolution 2254 and give an answer to the key question, i.e. the formation of a governing body without any participation of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad in it."

The formation of a governing transitional body without Assad’s participation is a key demand advanced by the High Negotiations Committee at the intra-Syrian peace talks. The second round of these talks is currently underway in Geneva. The government however categorically refuses to discuss this issue.

Earlier, a source in the HNC, which was formed in December 2015 in Riyadh, told TASS that the HNC delegation is looking at withdrawing the talks but the final decision has not yet been taken. According to the source, the key reason for that move is the Syrian army’s offensive, which it claims violates the truce that came into force seven weeks ago. The ceasefire regime that was brokered by Russia and the United States was envisaged by the United Nations Security Council resolution adopted unanimously last December. The resolution also provides for deliveries of humanitarian aid to Syrian population.

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