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Thursday, November 19

Saudi Arabia tries to pick the cabinet for Syria's transitional government

Say what?! Saudi Arabia Imposing Own Plans of New Government on Syria
November 19, 2015 - 14:00
Sputnik

There are both government and opposition representatives on the list of figures for the new Syrian government proposed by Saudi Arabia, according to Randa Kassis, leader of the Movement for a Pluralistic Society.

Saudi Arabia is trying to impose on Syria its own plan for the transitional government, Randa Kassis, leader of the Movement for a Pluralistic Society, said Thursday.

According to her, currently there are four lists of potential candidates to the Syrian opposition delegation for talks with the Syrian government.

"There are four lists, including one proposed by Russia, one proposed by Egypt, one by Saudi Arabia, and one by the US. Saudi Arabia did not submit its proposals, but it gave the names of the people it wants to be in the new government, including representatives of both the current authorities and opposition," Kassis said at a press conference hosted by Rossiya Segodnya information agency in Moscow.
"Of course, Saudi Arabia is a significant player, but the Syrian people cannot let any other country – like Saudi Arabia – impose on us the entire cabinet," she underscored.

Participants of the international meeting on Syria in Vienna on Saturday agreed that the next round of talks between the government and opposition should take place before January 1, 2016.

Within the next few months, the Syrian government and opposition should agree on the national unity government, and within 18 months the country should hold elections in accordance with a new constitution. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said in Vienna that participants of the talks would help the Syrian opposition form a delegation for further talks with the government

Syria has been engulfed in an armed conflict since March 2011. According to the UN, over 220,000 people have been killed. Government forces have been fighting against various militant groups, including the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group and al-Nusra Front.

[END REPORT]

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem
He looks like a hard bargainer


Next Meeting of Syria Support Group Could Be Held in Late December
November 18, 2015 - 20:44 
Sputnik

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Next meeting of the International Syria Support Group could be held in late December — early January in Paris, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Wednesday.

The last round of international meetings on a Syria settlement took place in Vienna on Saturday and was devoted to defining a political solution in the country's civil war. According to the agreement reached in Vienna, formal talks between the Syrian government and the opposition must take place by January.

"According to the Vienna agreements, the next meeting has been scheduled within a month, that is why it is expected to be held in late December — early January in Paris," Bogdanov told RIA Novosti.

According to Bogdanov, the same delegations that took part in Vienna talks will attend the upcoming meeting.

"Participation of Damascus delegation is not planned," Bogdanov added.

Since 2011, Syria has been mired in a civil war with government forces fighting a number of militant groups and opposition factions. During the previous round of Vienna talks in late October, international mediators worked out a nine-point plan on ending the Syrian civil war, including a definition of national unity, the defeat of extremist groups and assistance to refugees.

[END REPORT]

See also Syrian Foreign Minister to Visit Russia Next Week; 18 Nov, Sputnik
He'll be meeting with Lavrov. "The talks will focus on fight against terrorism and the progress in political reconciliation on the basis of the Geneva Communique and Vienna agreements."

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