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Syrian Opposition: Moscow Employing Hameem’s Group to Foil Peace Talks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura (R) and his deputy Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy are seen at the opening of a meeting with the Syrian government delegation during Syria peace talks at the United Nations Office, April 22, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Beirut- Syrian Opposition sources revealed that Moscow is underway on preparing for an initiative, seen with U.N. sponsorship, for merging all Syrian Opposition delegations participating in the ongoing Geneva peace talks…

The merger proposed would have the Riyadh-based Higher Negotiations Committee (HNC) become a minority in an opposition representative delegation comprising 15 members. Sources highlight that the Russian proposal aims at foiling the peace talks.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Hameem’s opposition delegation, the group playing a factor in the Russian proposal, has moved for Moscow boarding a Russian foreign ministry aircraft.

All delegation members were granted visas from the Swiss embassy located in Moscow, given that the last time they had to first move to Beirut for their passes. Back then; the experience proved uncomfortable to the delegation members.

The last meeting bringing both Russians and the Hameem delegation members- before the Syrian Opposition announced its withdrawal from the peace-talks made it clear that the Russians are inclined towards their proposition of merger and are effectively pushing for it, sources added.

Russia has not objected to the regime’s ceasefire violations, and has promised the U.N. special envoy to Syria Sataffan de Mistura on the negotiations continuing despite the opposition’s withdrawal; in hopes of achieving a sort of internal negotiations.

As for the Hameem delegation, it comprises members of the People’s Council of Syria, party leaders, parties authorized by the government and figureheads related to the regime’s security body, sources said.

Opposition sources believe that Russians are heading towards toppling over the whole Geneva mechanism of negotiations, and that the opposition’s delegation would be represented by 15 members comprising three HNC members, three of the inner opposition and three others belonging to what is known by the Cairo Conference.

Added to the members are, Randa Kassis, Qadri Jamil and chances of the contribution of Moaz al-Khatib. Other members will be assigned according to what Moscow sees evidently playing to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s profit and stay in authority.

A Syrian Opposition member, residing in Paris, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Russians had informed de Mistura of their new take on resolving the Syrian crisis, which entails an expanded government led by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. However, the opposition considered the proposal to contradict enlisted conditions reached by both Geneva conventions held for the Syrian crisis.

On the other hand, Arab sources reported that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had told an Arab official, who visited Moscow, on Russia striking an accord with the U.S. over the principals of a solution which are based on ceasefire, counterterrorism and a governmental transition.

The same sources also reported Lavrov saying that the only country which draws a red line on having the Syrian government collapse, other than Russia, is the U.S.