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Syrian opposition meetings in Riyadh fail due to Moscow’s stance on Assad

Image of the Syrian peace talks in session in Astana, Kazakhstan [Aliia Raimbekova/Anadolu]
Image of the Syrian peace talk in session in Astana, Kazakhstan [Aliia Raimbekova/Anadolu]

The Syrian opposition meeting in Riyadh, which brought together the delegation of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and representatives from Cairo and Moscow, has ended without any fruitful results, Quds Press has reported. It was hoped that agreement would be reached on the unification of the opposition delegation to the Geneva peace talks on Syria which are expected to take place in October.

The head of the media department of the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Ahmad Ramadan, said that the participating delegations in the meeting discussed the agreement on a joint political programme. However, the representatives from Moscow refused to approve any text which includes the Syrian people’s demand to remove Bashar Al-Assad and rejects any role for him in a Transitional Authority. In addition, the Russians demanded that the 2012 Constitution should be retained with some minor amendments, something that the High Commission disagreed with.

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Ramadan told the media that there was a sense of mutual understanding between the delegations from the High Commission and Cairo. However, what he described as the “stubbornness” of the Moscow representatives effectively blocked any efforts to include representatives from Egypt and Russia in the delegation for the Geneva negotiations.

Meanwhile, in the Kazakhstan capital, Astana, media sources confirmed on Tuesday that the upcoming peace talks on Syria could take place in mid-September after being planned previously to be held in Russia at the end of this month.

Read: UN hopes for ‘real’ Syria talks in October

The UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, expressed his hope that “genuine and substantial” peace talks could be launched in October between the Syrian government and a united opposition that has yet to be formed.

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