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    A man walks past damaged buildings in the rebel held besieged city of Douma, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria January 8, 2017

    Moscow Should Engage Opposition in Intra-Syria Talks - SNNP Leader

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    Russia should involve internal Syrian opposition in the process of Syrian settlement, the leader of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia should contribute to the participation of the Damascus Platform that unites a wide spectrum of the internal Syrian opposition in the process of settlement negotiations in the crisis-torn country, the leader of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) said Wednesday.

    "We ask you to… confirm the Damascus Platform on the process of negotiations and dialogue, and maybe other platforms too, in order to make the political process represent a true dialogue between the Syrians — and not just a dialogue between 'invaders' and 'everyone else,'" Tarek Ahmad said at the meeting with Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian upper house of parliament.

    Ahmad added that the proposal of the Damascus Platform did not aim at exclusion of anyone from the settlement process, but to widen it.

    The international community has made several efforts to bring together representatives of government and opposition of the country to discuss settlement efforts. The latest such effort took place in Kazakhstan's Astana on Monday and Tuesday. The Astana negotiations are expected to be followed by a UN-mediated meeting in Geneva in February.

    The Damascus Platform is one of the numerous groups of Syrian opposition that brings together representatives of the country's civil society and lawmakers among others. The body was created in November 2016.


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