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Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee divided at Geneva talks — source

March 01, 3:54 UTC+3 GENEVA
The source said the opposition is divided mainly over the situation on the ground where, as the HNC claims, the number of ceasefire violations has been on the rise lately
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GENEVA, March 1. /TASS/. The Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) becomes increasingly divided over various issues at the Geneva talks, sources in the committee’s delegation said.

"A meeting of the delegation to the Geneva talks to discuss further actions is currently under way. The present situation caused serious disagreements," the source said.

The source said the opposition is divided mainly over the situation on the ground where, as the HNC delegation claims, the number of ceasefire violations has been on the rise lately. About a half of the delegation’s members represent armed groups that call for an immediate reaction to those violations, while others favor a more restrained approach and urge to continue working in line with the agenda suggested by the UN envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

Another bone of contention was Russia’s role in the Syrian settlement.

"Moscow could have played a key role in persuading Iran and the (Damascus) regime to observe the truce. The question is whether it wants it," the source said.

Russia’s decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Damascus for alleged use of chemical weapons also caused sharp criticism among some members of the HNC.

According to the opposition delegation sources, certain HNC members were to meet on Tuesday evening with the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Middle East and North Africa department, Sergei Vershinin, who arrived in Geneva Monday. The meeting did not take place, however.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov is expected to meet with HNC representatives Wednesday in the Palace of Nations in Geneva.

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