06:31 GMT +318 February 2018
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    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

    Hammond Welcomes Participation of Syrian Opposition in Geneva Talks

    © AFP 2018/ Fayez Nureldine
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    UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond welcomed on Saturday the decision of the Syrian High Negotiating Committee (HNC), which opposes the official Damascus, to participate in talks on the country's reconciliation in Swiss Geneva.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Friday, the United Nations announced that highly-anticipated talks started with a meeting between UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura and head of the Syrian government delegation Bashar Jaafari. The HNC had been suspending confirmation of its participation, but made a last-minute decision to travel to Geneva after receiving US and UN guarantees.

    "I welcome the difficult decision that the Syrian High Negotiating Committee has made to attend peace talks hosted by the United Nations Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura in Geneva," Hammond said in a statement.

    He added that London supported the peace process and called for an end to the violations of international law to reach political settlement in the conflict.

    In December, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on settling the Syrian civil war, which reaffirmed the goal to bring the entire spectrum of political groups in the crisis-torn country to the negotiating table and stated that the next round of the talks would take place in January, 2016.

    Related:

    US Expects Syrian Govt, Opposition to Achieve Early Progress in Peace Talks
    US Urges Syrian Opposition to Attend Peace Talks Without Preconditions
    Syrian Opposition to Talk With Damascus Only if UNSC Resolution Implemented
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    Syrian opposition, Philip Hammond, Geneva, United Kingdom
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