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The EU urges Russia and Iran to attract Damascus to the negotiating table

Ⓒ AFP – Emmanuel Dunand – | Attendees to the donor conference for Syria pose in Brussels on April 25, 2018

The European Union urged Russia and Iran on Wednesday to press their ally Damascus to engage in negotiations to end the bloody Syrian civil war, when the international community pledges billions of dollars to help civilians in the conflict.

“We need in particular that Russia and Iran press Damascus to agree to sit at the table under the auspices of the UN,” said the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, upon her arrival at the donor conference held in Brussels. seventh of this type.

For the EU, the only way to achieve peace for this conflict, which since March 2011 has left more than 350,000 dead and millions of displaced, goes through a “political process” under the umbrella of the UN, in the words of Mogherini.

Europeans are interested in relaunching the United Nations-led talks in Geneva that progressed little in eight rounds, in part because of the lack of interest of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia, Iran and Turkey also launched a rival process in Astana.

The statements come at the beginning of the second day of the conference on the future of Syria in Brussels, with the participation of more than 80 countries, aid groups and UN agencies.

On the first day, the United Nations envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, warned of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe in the Idlib region, a rebel stronghold that may become the regime’s next target after having taken over the rebel enclave of Guta. Oriental.

United Kingdom, represented by the Secretary of State for international development, Penny Mordaunt, will put in his speech at the conference the focus in Russia, who sent his ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov.

“By exercising his veto at the UN on 12 occasions [in resolutions] on Syria, [Russia] gave a green flag to Assad to perpetrate atrocities (…) against his own people,” Mordaunt said, according to his office, weeks later. of the alleged chemical attack in the city of Duma.

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