Syrian opposition groups sign joint document as Syrian talks end in Astana
A representative of the Movement for Pluralistic Society in North and South America announced the singing, but did not specify which opposition groups refrained from signing the document and what was the reason behind their decision.
According to the leader of the Movement for Pluralistic Society Randa Kassis, foreign mercenaries were one of the key points of contention between the opposition groups. “There were small disagreements about foreign mercenaries. We believe all foreign mercenaries should leave the country. It is our principle and we do not ask them to withdraw immediately. But if we are talking about the beginning of a political process, then eventually they will have to leave the country. The majority (of the opposition groups) agreed with this, but some still believe that in this case Hezbollah should also leave,” she elaborated.
The Syrian talks started in Astana on May 25 bringing together more than 30 people – leaders and representatives of various opposition groups of Syria as well as civil society groups and independent activists. However, the Syrian government did not join the negotiations.
Earlier in April, Syrian opposition asked Kazakhstan to become a mediator in the Syrian talks. "We're talking about getting Kazakhstan to assist in resolving the crisis in Syria because of the role that Kazakhstan plays in the world community thanks to its relationships with various countries," the leader of the Movement of the Pluralistic Society Randa Kassis said then.
The Syrian talks have been ongoing for four years already with a sole aim of resolving the Syrian crisis that initially started as a pro-democracy revolt and turned into a multi-sided civil war after the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government responded with violent crackdowns.
It has already claimed lives of more than 200 thousand people, according to the United Nations, and forced millions of Syrians to flee their homes. Many rights groups have accused the international community of failing Syria.
Before Astana, the opposition groups met in Moscow, but the talks produced no progress.
Syrian opposition groups expressed their willingness to hold another round of negotiations in Kazakhstan's capital. "All representatives of opposition groups would like to come again to Astana for another round of talks," Randa Kassis is quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
By Assel Satubaldina