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High Negotiations Committee’s ‘Assad must go’ demands are futile, Moscow Group leader says

July 18, 16:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. Demands for Bashar al-Assad’s resignation promoted by the Riyadh group of the Syrian opposition are futile for any further peace negotiations in the country, Chairman of the Syrian oppositional "Moscow Platform" Qadri Jamil said at Tuesday’s press conference.

"Those who put forward preliminary conditions do not want any negotiations. This is just a lot of hot air by those who do not want any talks. You want to empower the extremist forces in this way," Jamil noted. "For our part, we will observe the text and the spirit of UNSC Resolution 2254."

According to Moscow platform’s chairman, it is counter-productive to speak of whether Assad will stay or leave the office in the run-up to the talks. "This only makes thing go from bad to worse and contributes to more bloodshed," Jamil emphasized.

"As Russia’s Permanent Representative [to the UN Office in Geneva] Alexey Borodavkin said, the last remarks by the HNC [the High Negotiations Committee, the Riyadh opposition group] on Assad’s resignation are counter-productive, and they smack of extremist ideology," he stressed. "This makes thing go from bad to worse. We cannot agree to preliminary conditions, which torpedoes the process."

The seventh round of UN-led talks on Syria kicked off on July 10 and is expected to run until July 14. Damascus’ delegation and representatives from three Syrian oppositional platforms - Cairo, Moscow and Riyadh - are taking part in it. The HNC officials stated during the round that they regarded Assad as a hindrance in searching for ways to settle the conflict in Syria.

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