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Syrian opposition hopes for beginning of direct talks with government delegation in Geneva

December 10, 2017, 21:16 UTC+3 GENEVA

Basma Kodmani of the opposition delegation said that she did not think that further talks via a go-between could be productive

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GENEVA, December 10. /TASS/. Syria’s united opposition delegation to the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva hopes that the arrival of the government delegation will make it possible to finally begin direct consultations, Basma Kodmani of the opposition delegation said on Sunday.

"There were no negotiations before, because negotiations are between two sides. It's what we are here for, it's why we came to Geneva," she said, adding that the opposition delegation hopes that "the Assad delegation is willing to hear what the international community is calling for, what we are calling for."

She said she did not think that further talks via a go-between could be productive. "It's not the mode for the serious work," she said.

The opposition delegation’s representative hailed the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the necessity of direct contacts between the opposition and the Syrian government in Geneva. "It’s a very encouraging sign," she stressed.

According to Kodmani, the opposition delegation is ready for direct talks and over the past week had discussed with UN Secretary Genera’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura various aspects of political settlement. "We are comfortable with what Special Envoy has developed in 12 principles. We only suggested minor changes, but the document is almost fine at this stage. We waiting for the negotiations with regime on it," she said.

The Syrian government delegation returned to Geneva earlier on Sunday to continue consultations after an eight-day absence. Upon arrival, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari, who leads the government delegation, refused to comment on the talks’ perspectives and a possibility of direct contacts with the opposition.

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