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Syrian opposition group gives answers to de Mistura’s list of 12 settlement principles

March 03, 20:42 UTC+3 GENEVA

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said he plans to convene another round of Syria talks in Geneva but did not name the exact date

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© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

GENEVA, March 3. /TASS/. The Moscow platform of the Syrian opposition said on Friday it has received from United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura an unofficial document containing 12 principle of the Syrian settlement and gave its answer to it.

"De Mistura handed over to the delegations what he calls an unofficial document. It contains 12 settlement principles. And we gave our answers to them," the leader of the platform’s delegation to the Geneva intra-Syrian talks, Hamza Monzar, said.

The document with 12 principles of political settlement in Syria that was offered by de Mistura to the parties to the talks was released in the mass media earlier in the day. The document paraphrases last year’s proposals for Syria’s territorial integrity, preservation of state institutions, including the army, and aid to refugees, etc.

 One delegation of Syrian opposition might be formed on a principle of equality, basing on shared vision and provisions of Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council, he stressed.

"When we are speaking about one delegation, it is supposed that not a compromise is meant here but a shared vision," Monzer emphasized. "For easier creation of such delegation, it should lean on UN Security Council’s Resolution 2254."

Besides, Monzer said that during Thursday’s consultations with members of the Syrian opposition group High Negotiations Committee (HNC), the ‘Moscow group’ "presented its vision of a wide range of problems." Along with this, Monzer noted that the sides had agreed to join efforts for forming a unified delegation.

De Mistura has backed the proposal to include the fight against terrorism in the agenda of the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Monzer added.

"He (de Mistura - TASS) expressed optimism about progress in the (settlement) process and about the fact that an impetus has been created for that despite all difficulties at the talks," Monzer said.

"He also expressed the intention to discuss the proposed baskets saying that there should be four of them (that is, the fight against terrorism has been added to the formation of the government, the elections and work to draft the constitution - TASS)," the opposition member said.

Monzer said de Mistura said he plans to convene another round of Syria talks in Geneva but did not name the exact date.

"De Mistura did not appoint the exact date but said the meeting will be organized soon," he said, adding that the UN envoy expressed the hope that a meeting in Kazakhstan’s Astana to be held ahead of the new round of the Geneva talks will help make progress on the issue of fighting terrorism in Syria.

The new round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva is expected to be held in late March. According to sources in various delegations, it might take place on March 20-23. De Mistura however may postpone it to a later date as he did it before the current round of consultations.

One of the main outcomes of the final round of the Geneva negotiations was recognition of three Syrian opposition groups - the Cairo, the Moscow and the Riyadh groups - as full-fledged participants in the settlement process, he went on.

"Of course, the results are not as tangible as we expected. However, there are certain outcomes. We have been able to overcome a number of difficulties, including the recognition of the existence of three opposition groups," he said.

Atmosphere was more positive

The current round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva has yielded no concrete results but the general atmosphere was more positive than a year ago, Nasr al-Hariri, the chief negotiator for the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said on Friday after the consultations.

"Although there are no concrete results, the atmosphere is more positive," he said.

 Preliminary dates for the next round of negotiations have been agreed, the delegation of the High Negotiations Committee is ready to continue working, he went on. 

"In general, we have reached an agreement with the UN envoy on the procedure of the talks. Consultations will be continued in between the rounds," he said.

"We discussed the dates for resumption of work in Geneva with de Mistura," he said. Al-Hariri declined to specify what date he was taking about. The negotiations are expected to resume in the second half of March, tentatively on March 20-23.

 The delegation has received the document containing 12 principle of the Syrian settlement.

"These are general principles that are not based on decisions of the international community. They are derived from a similar document of last year," he said. 

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