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Syria: Opposition Demands Comprehensive Ceasefire to Introduce Political Transformation | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of the Syrian opposition delegation of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) attend a meeting with U.N. mediator on Syria Staffan de Mistura REUTERS/Fabrice Coffrini

Beirut – The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) did not carry out any amendments regarding the delegation members to attend the negotiations in Geneva due next week.

During its meetings in Riyadh, the committee discussed the political transformation and stressed that it represents a priority in the negotiations – it also discussed demanding a comprehensive ceasefire in Syria and not only in certain areas – as stated in Astana Agreement – as well as breaking the siege and rejecting displacement.

Though the opposition pins no high hopes on this round, yet it sees that the US presence will positively affect it, especially that the representation will be on a higher-rank compared to round five. Also, the negotiations come after US-Russian meetings and agreement to activate Geneva negotiations.

Member of the High Negotiation Committee Fuad Aliko told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We don’t expect huge changes. We are aware that the mission is challenging, but we hope that the updates and international acts hold some change.”

Aliko asserted that negotiations should be resumed from where they ended in the last round, majorly at the point of political transformation.

Ahmad Ramadan, a spokesman for the HNC, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meetings in Riyadh discussed Geneva negotiations scheduled for next Tuesday.

Discussions underscored importance of Russian commitment to the ceasefire, knowing that Moscow is one of Astana Agreement guarantors.

Ramadan pointed out that the committee will demand not to restrict alleviating escalation to certain areas– as mentioned in Astana Agreement – but to attain a comprehensive and prompt ceasefire.

During the previous five rounds, negotiations weren’t direct between the regime and opposition delegations but through UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Syria’s Michael Conte, UN Special Envoy for Syria, expected no change in this regard during the sixth round.