Russia: All Sides Must Stop Preconditions for Syria Peace Talks

Russia: All Sides Must Stop Preconditions for Syria Peace Talks
Sat Jan 30, 2016 13:08:27

Russia has renewed calls on all sides in UN-backed talks on Syria to forgo their preconditions and help facilitate the peace process aimed at ending nearly five years of violence in the Arab state.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said all parties should “actively engage in the work and abandon all preconditions in favor of searching for effective ways to reach a political settlement in Syria.”

Aleksei Borodavkin, Moscow’s permanent representative to the European office of the United Nations, also emphasized that “there should be no preconditions for the start of the Syrian talks.”

Friday marked the first day of the peace talks in the Swiss city of Geneva, which the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has warned "cannot fail."

The Syrian government’s 15-member delegation, headed by Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja’afari, arrived to the talks as planned.

The so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a Saudi-backed anti-Damascus opposition group, was however conspicuous by its absence, having conditioned its participation on the conclusion of an agreement on what it called “aid access” to some Syrian towns.

The group later said it would send “about 30, 35 people” to the negotiations, but asserted they would be there to “participate in discussions with the UN, not for negotiations.”

Zakharova, meanwhile, said terrorist organizations like Saudi-backed militant group Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafist movement that has close ties with Turkey, should not take part in the talks.

Borodavkin also slammed some “regional powers” for insisting on the exclusion of Syrian Kurds from the negotiation process.

Three rounds of UN-backed negotiations have so far been held in Vienna and New York on the situation in Syria since last October.

The conflict in Syria has killed more than 260,000 people and forced millions from their homes since its onset in 2011, Press TV reported.

S/SH

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