Egypt's foreign minister meets Syrian opposition delegation ahead of Geneva talks

Wednesday 06-04-2016 12:32 PM

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, REUTERS

CAIRO, Apr 6 (Aswat Masriya) - During a meeting with Syrian opposition members in Cairo, Egypt’s foreign minister said Tuesday his country will “spare no effort” to reconcile Syrians’ views, the ministry said in a statement ahead of the upcoming Geneva peace talks.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri met on Tuesday with members of the Cairo Conference Follow-up Committee, which emanated from a conference held in the Egyptian capital for members of the Syrian opposition in June 2015.

U.N.-brokered talks are scheduled to resume in Geneva on Apr. 11 between the Syrian government and the opposition.

Shukri said it is important to end the “Syrian tragedy” which has “serious repercussions on the region’s stability and security,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid added in an official statement.

Shukri hopes that Syrians will reach a settlement that “preserves Syria’s unity and stops the bloodletting of the Syrian people; and meets their aspirations to restore stability, defeat terror and build a democratic, pluralistic state,” according to the foreign ministry’s statement.

The key obstacle to reaching a peace agreement between the Syrian government and opposition has been the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The opposition insists Assad should step down and a transitional governing body that does not include him should take over.

In October, Egypt expressed its backing for Russian air raids against “terrorist groups” and in support of Assad in Syria. But on Mar. 14, Russia President Vladimir Putin announced that “the main part” of Russian forces would start to withdraw from the war-torn country.

The Egyptian foreign minister’s remarks come less than two days before a visit by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to Cairo, scheduled for Thursday. Saudi Arabia opposes Russia’s intervention in the Syrian crisis and is a key supporter of rebels fighting Assad. 

Saudi Arabia and Gulf neighbours Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have backed Egypt since the military ouster of former president Mohammed Mursi in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule.


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