Russia to Host Syria Peace Talks in April

March 5, 2015  

Moscow said Thursday it would host talks between representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition figures in April, three months after a meeting between the parties which ended without any concrete results, AFP reported. 

“Representatives from a larger section of the Syrian opposition,” are expected to take part in the talks, said Alexander Lukashevich, spokesman for the foreign ministry.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told news agency RIA Novosti that members of the exiled opposition Syrian National Coalition, which did not take part in the first round of talks in January, were “considering coming to Moscow” for the meeting.

Gatilov said the UN’s Syria peace envoy Staffan de Mistura would also take part in the talks.

Moscow – one of Assad’s few remaining allies – is trying to kickstart dialogue between the warring parties in a bid to end nearly four years of civil war that has claimed more than 200,000 lives since 2011.

Two rounds of talks in Geneva ended without success, the last of which took place in February 2014.

In January this year discussions between around 30 opposition members – from groups tolerated by Damascus authorities – and representatives of Assad’s regime, were described as an “initial, consultative meeting” by the head of the government delegation Bashar al-Jaafari.

There was little hope of a breakthrough before the meeting, which saw the Syrian government and some opponents agree to a list of ten points called the “Moscow principles”.

The document stipulates that a solution to the conflict should be found “politically and peacefully”, rejects foreign interference and calls for sanctions to be lifted.

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