19:08 GMT +320 August 2019
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    UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura arrives to attend the first session of Syria peace talks at Astana's Rixos President Hotel on January 23, 2017.

    Damascus Platform Urges De Mistura to Invite Special Delegation to Syria Talks

    © AFP 2019 / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV
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    The Damascus Platform is about to invite an independent delegation of Syrian opposition forces and civil society members to the next round of the Syrian reconciliation talks in Geneva, the platform said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Damascus Platform calls on UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to invite an independent delegation of Syrian opposition forces and civil society members from inside the country to the next round of the Syrian reconciliation talks in Geneva in addition to the existing governmental and opposition delegations, the platform said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

    The fourth round of the UN-mediated intra-Syrian talks in Geneva wrapped up on Friday, with the sides agreeing on several "baskets" of issues to be addressed during the next round. On the opposition side, the talks were attended by the Riyadh-backed High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and the Cairo platform. The Moscow platform refused to take part, citing organizers' bias toward the HNC, while the Hmeimim group and the Damascus Platform were never invited.

    "We ask… the international sponsors and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to form a third delegation, along with the governmental and opposition delegations, which will include representatives from the rest of the political and social spectrum in Syria, from parties, civil society organizations, and independents, including tribal and regional dignitaries. In addition, we demand a fair representation for the Kurdish component and the Syriac in northern Syria," the Damascus Platform said in the statement.

    The opposition group called for an inclusive dialogue between all groups of the Syrian society as the only form to discuss the political settlement, the new Syrian constitution or to reform the Syrian laws, including election laws.

    "A wide range of representatives of the Syrian people are not taking part in the ongoing political process in Geneva, and thus cannot discuss the core issues which form the political future of Syria and include issues like the constitution, the government and elections, while the Syrian political spectrum in its entirety is being ignored, as it was mentioned in the 2254 resolution," the statement reads.

    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.

    At the very start of the latest round of the Geneva talks, de Mistura distributed to the Syrian sides the procedural paper where he defined the agenda as three baskets: governance, constitution and elections. However, the talks concluded with no clear practical results reached.

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    Tags:
    intra-Syrian talks, delegation, civil society, opposition forces, talks, Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Staffan de Mistura, Cairo, Damascus, Geneva, Syria
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