‘Government commitment to inter-Syrian dialogue’

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Damascus, Feb 16 (IANS) The Syrian government is committed to an inter-Syrian dialogue without preconditions, the country’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Tuesday.

Speaking during his meeting with the visiting UN peace envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura, al-Moallem said the Syrians are the only ones authorised to determine their future without foreign pressures, Xinhua reported.

The remarks came just a couple of weeks after the first round of the Syrian talks in Geneva collapsed, with the government blaming the failure, in part, on the opposition’s preconditions.

Another round of talks was planned on February 25, and al-Moallem’s remarks indicate his government’s readiness to attend it.

Meanwhile, al-Moallem pointed out to De Mistura the efforts excreted by the Syrian government to deliver aid to the people in need, stressing that this move emanates from the government’s duties, noting that it’s not related to the Geneva talks.

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Al-Moallem also underscored the need for the Western countries to lift their unilateral sanctions on Syria.

Mistura said after the meeting with al-Moallem that they discussed the humanitarian access to all besieged Syrian areas, not only those besieged by the government, but those under the siege of the opposition and the Islamic State (IS) group as well.

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