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    A civilian rides a bicycle past a cemetery in the rebel held besieged Douma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria January 3, 2017

    'Hand in Hand': Belgian Party Says Trump Should Work on Syria With Russia, EU

    © REUTERS / Bassam Khabieh
    Middle East
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    Belgium’s Parti Populaire (Popular Party, the PP) hopes that new US President Donald Trump will work together with Russia and the European partners to settle the conflict in Syria, including by promoting the idea of the safe zones’ introduction in the war-torn country, a spokesman for the center-right party, Luc Rivet, told Sputnik on Saturday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Rivet's remark came as Aldo Carcaci, the only PP lawmaker in Belgium's Chamber of Representatives, began on Friday his visit to the Syrian cities of Damascus and Aleppo at the invitation of the country's government.

    "The PP hopes that the new American president will be more practical in working hand in hand with Russia and the Europeans, to bring peace back to the country. We have repeatedly called for the coalition to create 'safe haven' zones in Syria, where the civilian refugees could be kept, in their country, waiting for an end to the conflict. We are glad to hear that the Trump administration has proposed it and that Russia has recommended carefulness on the topic, without closing the door," Rivet said.

    The politician praised decisive action "taken thanks to Russia to end this festering civil war in the city of Aleppo," and welcomed peace talks in Kazakhstan's Astana.

    Trump has consistently voiced support for creation of safe zones, saying that oil-rich Persian Gulf monarchies will bear the costs for it.

    In a phone conversation with King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud last week, Trump requested the king’s support for the idea of creating safe zones in Syria and Yemen to help refugees displaced by the ongoing conflicts.

    Following Trump’s conversation with the Saudi king, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that any creation of security zones in Syria would require a practical agreement with the Syrian authorities. Russia intends to clarify the issue in a conversation with the United States, the minister added.

    Establishment of a safe zone implies guarantees to civilians in that area of not being targeted by any party in Syria's civil war. It can be the way to stem the tide of Syrian refugees to Europe and elsewhere.


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