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Former Ambassador Says Syria Solution Depends on Stopping Arms Flows

© REUTERS / Khalil Ashawi Residents walk near damaged buildings in Maaret al-Naaman town in Idlib province January 14, 2015
Residents walk near damaged buildings in Maaret al-Naaman town in Idlib province January 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Former US Ambassador to Syria said that successful peace talks, and a resolution to the crisis in Syria is premised on the United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey stemming the flow of weapons into the country.

WASHINGTON, January 15 (Sputnik) — Successful peace talks, and a resolution to the crisis in Syria is premised on the United States, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey stemming the flow of weapons into the country, former US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford said on Thursday.

“Humanity alone and the suffering of those [Syrian] people out in the winter requires a stepped up effort by the United States and the Russians, and yes, by the Iranians, the Saudis and the Turks to figure out what may be a solution for Syria,” Ford said at a New America Foundation conference on Syrian crisis. “Until those five countries decide to shut off the arms supplies and shut off the outside assistance, none of the Syrian parties…will be willing to negotiate.”

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A framework for discussing either a solution or merely a cease fire in Syria could be established by Russia, the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, Ford said, adding that he hopes that “those outside discussions will start.”

Ford admitted he was pessimistic about the Syrian talks, which will begin in Moscow on January 26. He added that Russia’s decision to host the preliminary talks with Syria is notable and “represents a concern from Moscow over the events in Syria, otherwise they would stand pat.”

The Russian government will hold talks with Syria’s President and some leaders of the Syrian opposition at the end of January, according to reports from Moscow and Damascus. President Assad announced on Thursday that these talks will be aimed at discussing future negotiations to settle the Syrian conflict.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he hopes the talks will afford the opportunity for “a fair level of participation” among the delegations represented. Some opposition groups in Syria announced at the last minute that they will not participate in the talks.

 

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