By Agence France-Presse
Syria’s opposition welcomes dialogue with Moscow to achieve a political settlement of the years-long war, said their chief negotiator, Nasr al-Hariri, in Russia on Friday.
“Of course, Russia can do a lot and can facilitate the expansion of dialogue,” he told reporters before meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“We have strived and will continue to strive for dialogue and negotiations with Russia to achieve a political solution,” said the head of the Syrian Negotiation Commission.
“Russia is a state that has major influence on the Syrian issue,” he said, expressing hope that Moscow would seize “this historic moment” and help broker a solution that suited both the regime and the Syrian people.
In the past, the opposition has described the role of Russia, which intervened militarily in the conflict on the side of Bashar al-Assad in 2015, as an “occupation”.
But Hariri’s remarks signalled the Syrian opposition’s readiness for more concessions following the regime’s battlefield successes.
Moscow said that Russia’s top diplomat Lavrov and Hariri had a “frank exchange of opinions” and stressed the need to settle the crisis as soon as possible.
Hariri visited Russia ahead of this weekend’s four-way summit on Syria in Istanbul. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host Russian President Vladimir Putin, France’s Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Turkey, which has supported Syrian rebels, has been working with Syrian regime supporters Russia and Iran to end the more than seven-year civil war, efforts that have often been greeted with suspicion in the West.