Syria opposition bloc threatens to leave talks in Geneva
Iran Press TV
Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:46PM
The Saudi-backed anti-Syrian government opposition group has threatened to withdraw from peace talks in Geneva, saying its delegation's presence will not be justified if the Syrian government persists in fighting the opposition.
The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a coalition of 17 Syrian opposition groups, made the comments late on Saturday, shortly after its delegation arrived in the Swiss city in a bid to assess whether to join the talks.
"The delegation will inform (UN special envoy Staffan) de Mistura of its intentions to withdraw its negotiating team if the UN and world powers are unable to stop these violations," claimed HNC coordinator Riad Hijab.
The HNC wants to discuss issues including lifting the siege on militant-held towns and putting a stop to Russian and Syrian government airstrikes, before engaging in the peace talks that started on Friday.
On Friday, UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met the Syrian government delegation, headed by the country's ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar al-Ja'afari and held preliminary talks.
De Mistura had earlier said that the fresh round of talks would be -- as declared before -- in form of "proximity talks" with no direct meetings planned between the government and representatives of the opposition.
Meanwhile, representative of the so-called HNC, Riyad Naasan Agha, claimed that the bloc wants to show the world its "seriousness in moving towards negotiations to find a political solution."
This is while, Russia has already said that terrorist organizations like Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham should not take part in the talks.
According to the UN, up to 4.5 million people live in hard-to-reach areas of Syria , scene of conflict fueled by foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists since March 2011.
Over 260,000 people have reportedly lost their lives while millions of others have been forced out.
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