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Italy Tries to Revive Syrian Talks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riad Hijab, Syrian opposition coordinator for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) attends a news conference after the Geneva peace talks were paused in Geneva, Switzerland, February 3 , 2016. U.N.-mediated talks to end the war in Syria are on pause until Feb. 25, U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday, saying the talks had not failed but needed immediate help from international backers led by the United States and Russia. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

Moscow – Head of the Syrian Opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Riad Hijab is expected to hold talks with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni in Rome on Monday, sources said.

HNC spokesperson Riad Nassan Agha said that the meeting with the Italian minister comes as part of the continuous political dialogue with all parties to discuss the obstacles that impede a political solution.

Aki Italian News Agency mentioned that the Italian Foreign Minister will hold separate meetings Monday morning with U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and head of HNC Riad Hijab.

The agency also quoted European diplomatic sources as saying that the Geneva negotiations will start after the second half of July. Sources spoke of serious intentions on pushing a new round of negotiations.

HNC is still not very optimistic in this regard. Its spokesperson told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper: “There is no hope on the possible resumption of the negotiations.”

He added that nothing tangible has happened yet to create a suitable environment for negotiating especially that detainees have not been released and Syrian cities remain under siege.

According to Nassan, the main issue is that the Syrian regime refuses to form a transitional committee. “On what grounds will we negotiate then?” he asked.