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Syria’s oppositional HNC suggests urgent meeting of Friends of Syria Group in Paris

April 27, 20:06 UTC+3
In connection with the escalation on the part of the authorities and their allies, Mr. Hijab called for an urgent meeting in Paris of the Group of Friends of Syria
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© Denis Balibouse/Pool Photo via AP

GENEVA, April 27. /TASS/. The chief coordinator of the Syrian oppositional High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Riyad Hijab, has called for an urgent meeting of the Group of Friends of Syria in Paris, the HNC said in a statement circulated in Geneva on Wednesday.

"The chief coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee, Riyad Hijab, has over the past few days held talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende," the statement said.

"In connection with the escalation on the part of the authorities and their allies, Mr. Hijab called for an urgent meeting in Paris of the Group of Friends of Syria aimed at containing the crisis and rendering pressure on the authorities and their allies," it said.

The HNC statement said Hijab, in conversations with the foreign ministers, pointed out that from the viewpoint of the committee, serious violations of the ceasefire regime continue in Syria, just as siege of cities, and there’s no progress in the resolution of humanitarian issues.

Earlier, HNC spokesman Riyad Naasan Agha told TASS that the decision regarding the HNC’s further participation in the talks will be made following a coordination meeting within the next few days.

The Group of Friends of Syria, whose composition has not been formally fixed, includes a number of Western and Middle East countries, including the United States. Russia does not make part of the group.

The conflict in Syria has lasted since March 2011. Earlier in April, the United Nations secretary general’s special envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura said the hostilities in the country have left 400,000 people dead. Later he specified that it was his personal assessment. Up until now, the UN has named the death count of over 250,000 in Syria.

The ceasefire regime took effect in Syria on February 27. Shortly before, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting a cessation of hostilities. The document drafted by Russia and the United States was backed by all 15 Security Council member states.

The ceasefire regime does not cover the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations as well as other groups ruled terrorist by the Security Council.

Russia takes an active part in the Syrian settlement effort. It helps Syria's authorities fight terrorists and has conducted mine clearing work in the ancient city of Palmyra.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On March 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to start, from March 15, withdrawing the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ group from Syria. Putin said the tasks set before the military "have been fulfilled on the whole." Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said strikes on terrorists will continue to be delivered.

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