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    Moscow Platform Continues Efforts to Build One Syria Opposition Delegation

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    Spokesman of the Moscow platform of the Syrian opposition Hamzeh Monther stated that the group continues efforts to build one delegation of Syrian opposition for the Geneva talks.

    GENEVA (Sputnik) — The Moscow platform of the Syrian opposition continues efforts to build one delegation for the Geneva talks and believes that the key issues on the agenda — governance, constitution, elections — need to be discussed simultaneously, the group's spokesman Hamzeh Monther said Thursday.

    Earlier in the day, representatives of the delegation met with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

    "We discussed with de Mistura substantive issues, not procedural matters. We gave our opinion, including on direct negotiations, the need of one delegation, and on the need to discuss substantive issues in parallel, not in sequence… We continue efforts in meeting with representatives of all three opposition platforms in order to reach an agreement on one delegation. We aim at it as a solution," Monther told reporters after the meeting.

    The three opposition groups present in Geneva are the High Negotiations Committee, the Moscow platform and the Cairo platform.

    "We have always said that [fighting] terrorism is very important. It is essential to end terrorism and put pressure on states that support it," he said, asked whether Moscow platform believed it was  necessary to add counterterrorism as the fourth "basket" to the agenda.

    "We absolutely do not refuse to discuss terrorism," he added.

    The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) would like to discuss the topics one by one, not in parallel, which creates divisions between the delegations to the talks on what needs to be discussed first. The delegation of the Syrian government insists that the "baskets" of issues on the agenda in Geneva cannot be addressed in parallel, and counterterrorism must be a priority.

    The fourth round of UN-backed intra-Syrian talks between the government and opposition factions kicked off in Geneva last week.

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    Syrian crisis, Intra-Syria talks, United Nations, Hamzeh Monther, Syria
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