De Mistura invites Syrian government and opposition groups for separate talks in Geneva

Geneva, SANA- The United Nations spokesman Ahmad Fawzi announced Friday that the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura had invited Syria’s government and opposition groups for separate talks in Geneva on May 4.

De Mistura plans for “low-key” talks with each of the main stakeholders over four to six weeks in the Swiss city, Ahmad Fawzi told a news briefing.

Major Powers, regional and international players have been invited, but not the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Jabhat al-Nusra, which are classified as terrorist organizations. Some of those present at the talks would be able to communicate with them, he added.

Separate consultations will involve representatives or ambassadors of the invited parties whose aim is to study the situation, Fawzi said.

UN Secretary General’s deputy special envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy had visited Moscow and met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, discussing with them ways to push forward the political solution for the crisis through dialogue.

Russia said it is willing to participate in the Geneva consultations after hosting two rounds of inter-Syrian talks in January and earlier in April of 2015, with the two sides-the government delegation and opposition figures- approving “Moscow Principles.”

Lukashevich: De Mistura’s deputy informed Russian side about preparations for initiative on Syria

Spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Lukashevich said that Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, the Deputy of UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura, has briefed the Russian side on the preparations for de Mistura’s initiative to hold talks in Geneva between representatives of the Syrian sides, representatives of the five permanent member states of the Security Council, and representatives of influential countries.

In a weekly press conference, Lukashevich said these talks could take long and extend throughout May, and that they will focus on the work needed to launch a political process to resolve the crisis in Syria, asserting that Russia supports de Mistura’s position.

He hoped that the Geneva meetings will take place soon and will have a positive effect on the situation in Syria, noting that the talks in question involve a series of bilateral meetings and not expanded talks between all sides, with de Mistura choosing this course so that states like Iran can take part in this initiative.

Lukashevich said that if all the participating sides reach an agreement on the goal of resolving the crisis in Syria, then it’s possible to see a settlement similar to the Geneva Communiqué issued in 2012.

He expected that representatives from all sides of the Syrian opposition will attend these talks, adding that the initiative will be launched on May 4th.

Manar al-Frieh/Manal Ismael / Hazem Sabbagh

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