Syria: meeting of a dozen countries supporting the opposition

chef-diplomatie-francaise-laurent-fabiusA dozen Western and Arab countries involved in the search for a political solution in Syria, met Monday evening in Paris to take stock of the progress of the process and preparing an international meeting scheduled for December 18 in New York with Russian and Iranian allies of the Syrian regime.

The head of French diplomacy Laurent Fabius received late in the day its American counterparts, British, German, Italian, Saudi, UAE, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey, said the Foreign Ministry.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who attended the Paris meeting, then departed in the evening to Moscow where he will hold talks with Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Americans and Russians should decide the particular organization but not yet -probable confirmée- a new international meeting in New York on December 18th between countries supporting the opposition and Russian and Iranian allies of the Syrian regime.

“We expect that the meeting (New York) to take place Friday. The Russians indicated they wished to discuss certain details, which will be part of the discussions “in Moscow on Tuesday, said a senior State Department.

In Paris, Kerry held talks with Qatari and Jordanian counterparts. Jordan is charged with making a list of terrorist groups that should be excluded from the negotiating process highly sensitive issue given the various assessments, which are the actors of the Syrian dossier on the “terrorist” in nature or not of different groups fighting in Syria.

The next New York meeting is part of the process says “Vienna”, in which 17 countries, including the Russian and Iranian allies of Bashar al-Assad, agreed last November, for the first time, on a political roadmap for Syria.

The Vienna process includes a meeting in early January representatives of the Syrian opposition and the regime, the constitution within six months of a transitional government and organizing elections within 18 months.

“We want to move quickly to negotiate and fix the frame with a resolution of the UN Security Council,” which could be presented in the wake of the meeting of 18 in New York, said a French diplomatic source.

During the Paris meeting Monday night, ministers were also to take stock of the Riyadh meeting, which for the first time last week, resulted in the approval of a roadmap by main groups of armed opposition and Syrian policy. These have indeed given their agreement in negotiations with the regime in Damascus while demanding the departure of the head of state.

Although many unknowns remain, including on the participation in the process of the powerful armed group Salafist Ahrar ash-Sham, the Riyadh meeting was an “important” event and marked a “true reconciliation between the armed opposition and the political opposition “according to the French source.

A delegation of fifteen opponents could be designated by the beginning of next week and mandated to negotiate with the regime. But this one has yet shown no signs of openness regarding such negotiations. International opposition supporters hope that the allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow and Tehran will press to accept to engage in this process.

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