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Britain, Russia back resumption of Syria talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
British Premier David Cameron (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin are seen in this file photo.

The British and Russian leaders have backed the resumption of peace talks aimed at ending the four-year crisis in Syria.

During a Monday phone conversation, British Premier David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin “agreed that it is in the interest of both the UK and Russia to help find a solution" to the crisis in Syria, Cameron's office said in a statement.

They also called for measures “to stop the rise of ISIL" terrorist group operating in Syria and Iraq, it said.

"They agreed that their national security advisers should meet to restart talks on the Syrian conflict," the statement added.

This came as Syria’s foreign-backed opposition group, the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC), refused to attend talks in the Swiss city of Geneva with the United Nations special envoy to Syria in early May.

Previous UN-mediated talks on Syria, dubbed Geneva I and II, failed to find a solution to end the conflict in the Arab country.

The two conferences ended in failure after the foreign-sponsored opposition figures in the talks refused to discuss widespread terrorism in the country and persisted in demanding the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a precondition.

People walk amid the rubble of buildings in the Eastern Ghouta town of Ain Tarma, east of the capital Damascus on May 14, 2015. (© AFP)


In January, representatives from the Syrian government and opposition parties held talks in the Russian capital, Moscow, in a bid to resume long-stalled peace negotiations.

Russia mediated between representatives from the Syrian government and domestic opposition after foreign-based opposition figures from the so-called SNC, refused to take part in the discussions.

President Assad has voiced support for Russia’s efforts to broker peace in his country.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 222,000 people, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says over 7.2 million people have been internally displaced, and more than 3 million have been forced to flee the country.


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