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New round of talks between Syrian authorities and opposition underway in Moscow

Today, on April 6, a new round of intra-Syrian talks in Moscow has brought together representatives of the Syrian authorities and moderate opposition. The negotiations will continue till April 9.

During the first round of the talks, on January 26-29 in Moscow, the sides agreed upon “the Moscow Principles” confirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, the principle of non-interference of outside powers, as well as proclaiming that combatting terrorism will be one of the major tasks of all Syrian politicians.

Earlier, Special Representative of the Russian President for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov discussed preparations for the meeting with Syrian Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad. Following the meeting, the Foreign Ministry of Russia said in a statement the negotiations look to “create favorable conditions for launching substantial negotiations of the Syrian government and the opposition to achieve national accord and political solution to the crisis in Syria on the basis of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012.”

Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition, even the “moderate” camp, is not homogenous. Their discrepancies come to light from time to time. Lately, Qadri Jamil, the head of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation, said his movement would be insisting on “pluralism of the representation of Damascus’ opponents” at the Moscow talks. The Popular Front is discontented at the monopoly of the National Coalition of the Opposition and Revolutionary Forces of Syria at the international conference in Geneva.

Experts familiar with the preparations for the Moscow round of talks say the composition of the Syrian opposition representatives will be changed by about one third.

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