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    U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (2nd R) meets with Syrian government representatives during Syrian Peace talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 24, 2016

    Political Transition to Be Only Issue Raised by HNC at Resumed Geneva Talks

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    Political transition will be the only issue raised by the Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee at the upcoming Geneva talks.

    GENEVA (Sputnik) — The Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee is going to put only one issue on the agenda at the newest round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, namely political transition, HNC Spokesman Yahya Aridi told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    "This time, HNC has only one item on the agenda. They want to discuss political transition and nothing else," Aridi said.

    However, he doubts direct talks between the opposition and the government are possible at the April round of Geneva negotiations.

    "I doubt that direct talks will take place at this round. It is far from possible. Because of the position of the regime," Yahya Aridi said.

    Mohammed Alloush, the leader Jaysh al-Islam, which is considered a terrorist organization in Russia, will keep the role of chief negotiator of the Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee (HNC) at the talks in Geneva, Yahya Aridi said.

    "Mohammed Alloush will stay the chief negotiator," Aridi said, responding to a question on whether the role of Alloush in the new round of talks would be changed.

    "During 36 hours we had a real tension on this…I personally wanted him to stay, because you cannot change horses during the race," Aridi added.

    While commenting on the US statements on a possible "plan B" for Syria, implying weapon supplies for the moderate Syrian opposition in case the ceasefire fails, Aridi said they were aimed at pushing peace talks in Geneva forward.

    "You remember what Putin did at the beginning of the previous round — announced the withdrawal — in order to push the peace talks further. I think these statements have same objective," Aridi said.

    At the same time, the official considers the ongoing parliamentary elections in Syria illegal and believes that all winners were chosen by the regime a week ago.

    "Elections are going on today. But under fear you cannot have democracy, under fear there can be no elections. [Russian Foreign Minister Sergei] Lavrov said in a statement today that there should be no legal vacuum. But is there anything legal, so that there can be a vacuum?" Aridi said.

    "These are funny elections. There is already a list of people who will be elected, they are known, before the results are going to be announced…on the website all4syria.info there is this list of all the governors, with names specified. This list of those who were nominated by the government was put there a week ago. You will see a 99.99% coincidence of the results of the 'elections' with this list," he added.


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