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Ilham Ahmed to Asharq Al-Awsat: Damascus Agreed to Political Dialogue with Guarantee from Moscow

Ilham Ahmed to Asharq Al-Awsat: Damascus Agreed to Political Dialogue with Guarantee from Moscow

Sunday, 9 February, 2020 - 11:30
Head of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) Ilham Ahmed. (Reuters)

Head of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) Ilham Ahmed revealed that the Syrian regime has agreed to Russian-mediated political negotiations with Kurds.

She told Asharq Al-Awsat that the formation of a “higher committee” that would address the administration of the autonomous region in eastern Syria was also a possibility.

She said that a Russian envoy had met with Kurdish, Arab and Christian officials from northeastern Syria at the Hmeimim air base at the end of 2019.

Discussions focused on how to “develop” the dialogue, she explained. “Are we part of this dialogue or not? What framework will they be held in?”

Ahmed said the parties were still in the very early discussions with the Damascus regime. “Moving forward from dialogue to serious discussions requires an agenda and plan that would be addressed through dedicated committees.”

The Russians are “serious” about playing role of mediator and “guarantor” in the political process, she added. “They have pledged to exert pressure on the regime to accept a comprehensive settlement,” she stressed.

She revealed that after concluding talks at Hmeimim, “we traveled to Damascus the next day to meet Ali Mamlouk (head of the national security bureau).” The Russian envoy was present at the talks.

“I am awaiting for words to turn into actions. This will be proven by practical steps and the launch of comprehensive dialogue that addresses the fate of the Syrian people and a region that is part of the Syrian state,” she went on to say.

She stressed the need for a “responsible approach” that steers clear from hostility and hopes for a military solution.

Ahmed rejected the threatening rhetoric of some senior regime officials, saying thorny issues demand dialogue.

Furthermore, she pointed to meetings with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Syrian opposition figures in Cairo.

“We are working on holding the Cairo 3 conference in March,” she said.

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