Syria Talks in Geneva to Resume Without UN Envoy

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu third left and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov second left during two-plus-two talks with Japanese defense and foreign ministers in Tokyo

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English edition of Asharq Al-Awsat - the world's premier pan-Arab daily. "It is necessary to ensure the participation not only of the Moscow and Cairo groups, but also such structures as the Astana and Hmeymim groups".

This round's agenda includes the issues of governance - a political transition - the constitution, and elections, as well as counter-terrorism at the request of Damascus.

Deputy U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met separately with regime and opposition delegations yesterday ahead of the formal start of a fifth round of peace talks in Geneva. The growing activities of militants in Syria aim at disrupting the Geneva talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

De Mistura visited the Saudi capital Riyadh over the weekend and is set to travel to Ankara from Moscow before returning to Geneva.

For his part, Lavrov said Russian Federation "valued" the meeting with de Mistura.

"We understand the Syrian authorities' position, it is up to them to decide whether to meet with de Mistura in Damascus or not".

"We believe that we should help you consolidate the agreements on four baskets of issues: the transitional government, the constitution, the elections and the fight against terrorism", Lavrov told the United Nations envoy.

The resumption of talks between the Syrian parties in Geneva this week represents an essential step on the road to finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

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