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Qadri Jamil: Absence of Riyadh group won't derail talks on Syria

July 14, 2016, 9:08 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to politician, the ‘Riyadh group’ does not represent the entire opposition in Syria

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Qadri Jamil

Qadri Jamil


MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. The ‘Riyadh group’ of the Syrian opposition intentionally sabotages the resumption of the peace process, which, as a result, can be continued without it, head of the ‘Moscow - Cairo’ Syrian opposition group at the Geneva talks Qadri Jamil said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Thursday.

"I believe that the strategy of overcoming the Syrian crisis has already been developed, and it is necessary to adhere to it. Those who are not willing to do so should quit the negotiations. No need to take a two-faced position, first expressing willingness to negotiate, and then - sabotaging the negotiating process", Jamil said.

According to him, the ‘Riyadh group’ does not represent the entire opposition in Syria, "there is an opposition, which is represented by various groups and is ready to negotiate." "The ‘Riyadh group’ represents only a part of it, though some of the media are trying to present it as the sole representative of the Syrian opposition. So, the absence of one component will not break the negotiations", Jamil added.

According to him, the irreconcilable opposition primarily relies on the support from the United States, which with the help of such groups as Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia), "through its allies in Turkey and Saudi Arabia influence the situation on the battlefield and try to change it, which would give them a trump card in the negotiations." "I believe that the Americans will finally have to join the campaign against Jabhat al-Nusra and its allies. It will happen sooner or later," Jamil said.

According to him, contradictions persist so far within the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), and the UN Secretary General's special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is unable to give an impetus to the continuation of the political settlement process.

"From a legal point of view, it is de Mistura who should determine the date of the negotiations and outline the agenda. At the same time he cannot do anything until a consensus is reached among all members of the International Syria Support Group. Therefore, he should maximally contribute to reaching this consensus. If the differences are overcome, it will make it possible to pass the initiative to the Syrians", the head of the Moscow-Cairo group said.

On Tuesday, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told a UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East that the United States needs to give up propaganda clich·s and learn to assess the situation in Syria objectively. He called on the American side and other influential regional players to take a more positive approach and use their influence to persuade the Syrian opposition to give up a destructive course, which is delaying the conflict’s peaceful settlement.

"The United States, which is the co-chairman of the International Syria Support Group, needs to give up propaganda clich·s at long last and learn to assess the situation objectively," Churkin said. Churkin urged UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura to build up efforts in working with the sides in the Syrian conflict.

"The negotiations in Geneva should resume as soon as possible," the Russian diplomat said adding that now it was up for the Syrians themselves to make a decision. "However, a lot will depend on whether the Damascus opponents are going to give up their destructive line, which is delaying a peaceful settlement," Churkin stressed.

The previous round of the inter-Syrian talks, which was underway in Geneva on April 13-27, ended with no significant results. Staffan de Mistura told the UN Security Council meeting on June 29 that he hoped the Damascus government and the opposition would be able to resume the talks in July. He also confirmed he still hoped to launch a political process in Syria on August 1 in accordance with resolution 2254.

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.

An hour before the ceasefire came into force, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in support cessation of hostilities in Syria. The document was initiated by Russia and the United States and won support from all the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.

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