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Syrian opposition has no dialog partner seeking peace — chief negotiator

February 27, 20:37 UTC+3 GENEVA
Syria’s opposition HNC has handed over to Staffan de Mistura two documents on the use of chemical weapons and on ceasefire violations
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Nasr al-Hariri and Staffan de Mistura

Nasr al-Hariri and Staffan de Mistura

© EPA/FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/POOL

GENEVA, February 27. /TASS/. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) believes Damascus officials are not willing to hold a dialog that would contribute to the settlement of the Syrian crisis, HNC’s chief negotiator Nasr al-Hariri told a news conference after meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

"Up to now we have failed to see the partner that would indeed seek to achieve peace, security and stability," he said.

Al-Hariri alleged that the Syrian authorities continue committing crimes. "However, we don’t see the global community taking a firm stance or condemning it," he said.

The committee has handed over to United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura two documents on the use of chemical weapons and on ceasefire violations.

"We have handed over to notes to Staffan de Mistura," he said. "One is dedicated to the catastrophic situation Syria is now in. It is about the use internationally prohibited weapons, toxic chlorine gas in Eastern Ghouta, and the surface-to-surface missiles near the city of Homs, in Idlib and in Aleppo."

"The other document is about ceasefire violations," he added.

More than 1,160 killed

He went on to say that more than 1,160 civilians, including 216 children, have been killed in Syria in the past two months.

He said that since the establishment of ceasefire on December 30, 2016, as many as 1,161 civilians, including 216 children and more than 150 women, have been killed in Syria. "Just imagine the scale of the disaster," he said.

Meeting with Russian Foreign Ministry

 Leaders of the HNC will meet with representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry on February 28 to seek Russia’s support for their position.

"We are meeting with the Russian side tomorrow. We hope we will be able to persuade Russia to support the interests of the Syrian people," he said. "We hope Russia will take a positive stance and will stake on the Syrian people and not just on one person that destroys the country while staying in office," al-Hariri said.

Cairo platform's consultations with Russian diplomats

The Cairo platform of the Syrian opposition met with Russian diplomats in Geneva, the platform’s chief negotiator at the Geneva intra-Syrian talks Jihad Makdissi told TASS on Monday.

However he refrained from providing any further details of the consultations.

Earlier in the day, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov arrived in Geneva to attend a high-segment session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. He said Russia is ready to maintain contacts with all parties to the intra-Syrian talks and has already had a meeting with United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Another Russian high-ranking diplomat, director of the foreign ministry’s Middle East and North Africa department Sergei Vershinin is expected to arrive in Geneva to hold consultations with the delegations to the talks.

The Riyadh platform (High Negotiations Committee) delegation said it will meet with the Russian diplomats on February 28.

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