Syria remains committed to dialogue: FM
Iran Press TV
Tue Feb 16, 2016 4:6PM
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has reaffirmed his country's commitment to inter-Syrian dialogue without preconditions.
In a meeting with UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Damascus on Tuesday, al-Muallem said that the Syrian government and its delegation to Geneva showed seriousness in the recent Geneva peace talks for the resolution of the ongoing crisis.
The Syrian minister also said that his government will continue to protect citizens and distribute humanitarian aid, chiefly in the zones controlled by terrorist groups.
The meeting comes days after diplomats from a group of countries in Munich, including the US, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, agreed to seek a temporary 'cessation of hostilities' in Syria within a week.
The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) also agreed to 'accelerate and expand' deliveries of humanitarian aid to various besieged Syrian towns.
The agreement on Friday came following a marathon meeting in Munich, aimed at resurrecting peace talks that collapsed last week.
Sources say the Syrian truce does not include areas held by terrorist groups.
UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told a news briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva that de Mistura would also discuss with Damascus the possibility of resuming peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups scheduled for February 25. The UN spokesman also appealed to the regional countries and international community to use their influence to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table.
'You can't force people to come to the table to talk peace. Of course there are those with influence over the parties, and that's what he is trying to do, convince those with influence on the parties to put pressure on the parties involved to come to the table, and to stop this madness,' Fawzi said.
The UN has said that peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition should resume in Geneva immediately. The world body has also called on all opposition groups in Syria to attend the UN-brokered talks.
The talks were suspended on February 3 after the Saudi-backed opposition group, known as the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), refused to attend the sessions.
It came after the Syrian army, backed by Russian air cover, made significant gains against Takfiri militants on several fronts, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.
The opposition has now called for a halt in Russia's anti-terror campaign as a condition for its participation in the negotiations.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stressed in a televised speech on Monday that fighting terrorism is the government's first and foremost priority at present and in the future.
The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has claimed the lives of some 470,000 people and left 1.9 million injured, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.
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