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Syrian opposition says nothing received about talks initiatives

December 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm

The president of the Syrian National Coalition has denied that opposition groups have received details of initiatives from Egypt or Russia regarding peace talks. Hadi Al-Bahra stressed that there are no arrangements for a meeting with the Syrian regime in Cairo. Bahra’s remarks came after Damascus announced the regime’s readiness to meet with representatives of the opposition in Moscow next month.

Following a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, in Cairo, Bahra told reporters on Saturday that neither Cairo nor Moscow have sent formal invitations to his group. He did say, however, that there is dialogue between the Syrian opposition parties without the involvement of any third party.

Bahra pointed out that Russia does not have a clear initiative, but had only made a call for a meeting in Moscow. He said that the coalition delegation briefed Cairo about the start of dialogue with other Syrian opposition groups, which have held bilateral meetings in the Egyptian capital and other cities. “We hope to hold other, more extensive, meetings in the future,” he added. Ahead of his meeting with the Arab League chief, Bahra insisted that the opposition will shoulder its responsibilities and approve a single document as the basis for any future talks in Syria.

According to the President of the Information Office of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, Munther Khaddam, the opposition factions inside and outside Syria have made preparations for a meeting in Cairo to reach a unified vision. He suggested that the meeting will pave the way for another meeting in Moscow.

Another source amongst the Syrian opposition predicted that a Cairo meeting will take place next month and include for the first time representatives of the interim governing body of Syrian Kurdistan. The coordination body includes 12 opposition groups that are accepted by the regime.

The Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry, meanwhile, announced that the regime is willing to participate in the preliminary consultative meeting in Moscow. A spokesperson pointed out that the meeting has been set following ongoing consultations between Damascus and Russia.