Syrian Opposition Moscow-Cairo Group Yet to Receive Invitation to Astana Talks

© AP Photo / Bassem TellawiJihad Makdissi member of the Cairo Group (File)
Jihad Makdissi member of the Cairo Group (File) - Sputnik International
Leader of the Moscow-Cairo group of the Syrian opposition Jihad Makdissi said that the group did not receive an invitation to take part in the proposed negotiations between the Syrian conflicting parties in Astana, Kazakhstan.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Moscow-Cairo group of the Syrian opposition has not received any official invitations to the proposed negotiations between the Syrian conflicting parties in Astana, Kazakhstan, the group's leader, Jihad Makdissi, said Tuesday.

On December 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the possibility of a meeting between the Syrian conflicting parties in Astana. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has said the Astana talks will be useful to the United Nations. He also intends to convene negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva on February 8.

"[No one] has contacted us," Makdissi told RIA Novosti, adding that the opposition group has learned about the talks from media reports.

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The group has not been officially informed about the proposal of Mistura to hold negotiations in Switzerland, but the group was aware of it owing to the contacts with the UN envoy, Makdissi added.

The so-called Arab Spring protests shook the Middle East in 2011. In Syria, the protests resulted in clashes between the government forces and opposition.

The opposition and Damascus, along with the mediators, have been engaged in UN-brokered settlement talks. The latest round of intra-Syrian talks took place in Geneva in April. The Riyadh-formed High Negotiations Committee (HNC) opposition group walked out of the negotiations, citing the continuous fighting in Syria and the lack of progress on humanitarian issues. HNC transition plans included constitutional revision in its final stage.

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