Syrian Political Opposition says it Supports Astana Talks

Syrian Political Opposition says it Supports Astana Talks
Sat Jan 14, 2017 19:02:37

The Syrian political opposition said Saturday it supports planned peace talks sponsored by Russia and Turkey in the Kazakh capital later this month.

Alalam - Syria

"Concerning the forthcoming meeting in Astana, the (High Negotiations Committee) stresses its support to the military delegation... and expresses hope that the meeting would reinforce the truce," an HNC statement said after a two-day meeting in Riyadh.

The HNC also expressed hope that the meeting would "establish a phase of confidence" through the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, especially articles concerning ending sieges of cities and towns, delivering aid and releasing detainees.

The HNC said it "appreciates efforts" to make the Astana talks fruitful, adding that the meeting represents a step that "paves the way for political talks" in Geneva next month.

The statement, which did not clarify whether the HNC has been invited to the Astana talks, stressed that "discussing the political track ... should be held under the UN sponsorship and supervision."

The HNC is the main Syrian opposition umbrella group and participated in previous peace talks in Geneva.

Despite backing opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, Russia and Turkey have worked closely in recent weeks to broker a nationwide ceasefire aimed at laying the ground for the January 23 peace talks in Astana.

Moscow and Ankara brokered a deal that allowed civilians and rebels to leave the opposition enclave in Aleppo before Syrian troops took full control of the city last month.

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