Ukraine Today           17/03/2016

Moscow-backed Syrian opposition say we are in a ‘golden moment’ for civil war resolution

The Syrian government is refusing to conduct talks with the Saudi-backed High Negotiating Committee, the HNC. Syrian delegation chief Bashar al-Jafaari says other opposition groups must also be present.

Bashar Al-Jaafari, head of Syrian government delegation: “No one can monopolise the opposition. We will not have talks with only one opposition group, but rather with all opposition delegations. As the Syrian government delegation, we do not want to have direct talks with terrorists. Most members of the Saudi-backed delegation are terrorists.”

Watch also U.N. hopes Russian pullback will help peaceful transition in Syria

Meanwhile, a group of Moscow-backed political activists are issuing their first public statement on transition in Syria. They believe both Russia and the US are fully behind efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Middle Eastern state’s five-year civil war.

Randa Kassis, opposition negotiating group member: “Let me assure you, there is a real Russian will to ensure the success of these negotiations and to launch a political process. Adding to this, there is the will of U.S. President Barak Obama to ensure the success of these negotiations. We are now in a golden period.”

The current round of peace talks is scheduled to last until March 24th. It is hoped the negotiations will lead to a political solution to the civil war in Syria. The death toll from the fighting is already in the hundreds of thousands. Last autumn Russia intervened in the conflict to prop up its ally President Bashar al-Assad. Earlier this week Moscow announced a withdrawal. Russian President Putin says his county has achieved its objectives.