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French Sources: ‘Action Group Meeting in Paris Today Faces Several Challenges’ - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Paris-Paris announced on Friday it will host the countries backing Syria’s moderate opposition forces.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is set to host the meeting that will include his counterparts from the United States, John Kerry; Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier; United Kingdom, Boris Johnson; and Qatar, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani.

The head of Turkish diplomacy, Mevlüt Cavusoglu, and of the European Union’s Federica Mogherini _ along with representatives of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Italy and Jordan _ are also expected to attend, according to the schedule published on Friday by the French government.

“The latest events compound the urgency of mobilizing the international community,” said a spokesperson for the French foreign ministry.

France decided to gather the meeting after Russia vetoed last week a draft resolution that sought to establish a cease-fire in Aleppo that would have provided urgent humanitarian aid to civilians in besieged areas.

The participants will discuss the tragic humanitarian situation in Aleppo and the response that the international community must urgently adopt, plus the strategy they need to apply to achieve a stabilization of the liberated territories once ISIS is expelled.

The ministry pointed out that, one year after the launch of the Vienna (Peace) Process, it is currently dead in its tracks, and therefore “it is imperative to uphold the collective efforts to find a political solution.”

The General Coordinator of the Syrian Negotiating Committee (HNC), Riyad Farid Hijab, and the president of the City Council of Aleppo (East), Brita Hagi Hasan, will both be present during part of the session.

“It is time the international community wakes up because a tragedy is happening right in front of our eyes,” said Ayrault on Nov. 30, when he announced the date this meeting would take place.

Saturday’s diplomatic event coincides with another summit that will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, between U.S. and Russian diplomats and military officers to specify the terms of the withdrawal of armed groups from eastern Aleppo and the evacuation of civilians.

Earlier this week, six western countries including the United States called for an immediate ceasefire in the face of the humanitarian catastrophe in Aleppo, urging Russia and Iran to use their influence on the Syrian regime to secure a truce.

According to French sources, Ministers meeting in Paris should discuss five challenges the opposition is facing in Syria.

The first challenge lies in the humanitarian and field crises faced in Aleppo.

The foreign ministers meeting in Paris seek to revive pressure on Moscow and Tehran in all fields, including the Security Council, the General Assembly (truce and humanitarian aids) and all the possible international and European platforms.