Syria Foreign Minister Says Vienna Talks Statement Important

11/01/2015 - 21:24 PM

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BEIRUT: Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said Sunday he recognized the importance of a statement from world powers after talks in Vienna seeking an end to the country's war, state television said.

World powers and regional rivals called following Friday's talks for a nationwide truce and the renewal of stalled U.N.-brokered talks.

During a meeting with United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura, Moualem also reiterated Damascus's position that the fight against "terrorism" must take priority for a political solution to be reached.

He said that negotiators in the talks failed to convince his government's foes to curb their support for "terrorism" in comments after the meeting.

Syria's government refers to the entire armed opposition as "terrorists."

De Mistura met with Muallem Sunday during a trip to Damascus, in which he brifed various officials on the 'details' of the Vienna talks, according to Syrian newspaper al-Watan.

Top diplomats from 17 countries, as well as the United Nations and the European Union, gathered on Friday in Vienna to narrow their divisions over the war which has killed more than 250,000 people.

For the first time, the meeting brought together all the main outside players in the crisis, including Russia and Iran, key allies of the government of President Bashar Assad.

But the Syrian regime and the opposition were not represented.

Participants at the talks agreed to ask the United Nations to broker a peace deal between the regime and opposition to clear the way for a new constitution and U.N.-supervised elections.

Divisions remained on the fate of Assad, however, with Russia and Iran resisting Western and Saudi pressure to force the Syrian president from power.

De Mistura is expected to leave Damascus Monday, the UN official said, declining to provide further details on the diplomat's visit.

De Mistura last visited Damascus in September to discuss his proposal for joint working committees to discuss counter-terrorism, political and legal issues, reconstruction, and safety and protection


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