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Assad Regime Dissidents to Head Opposition Negotiations Team

Former Syrian prime minster and cultural minister to lead new opposition negotiations team for talks with Assad regime delegation in Geneva
Assad Regime Dissidents to Head Opposition Negotiations Team

Opposition figures who worked within the Syrian regime are set to head the new Riyadh-formed negotiations team, sources have revealed.

Former Syrian Prime Minster Riyad Farid Hijab, who fled Syria in August 2012, is said to be named as senior negotiator, while former cultural minister and veteran diplomat Riyad Nassan Agha will head the media committee.

Jihad Makdissi, former foreign ministry spokesman, is also said to be among the negotiating team, the sources added.

On Thursday, Syrian political and armed opposition groups agreed in Riyadh that President Bashar al-Assad and his aides must step down at the start of a transitional period set out last month by top diplomats.

Representatives agreed at the end of the two-day meeting on a framework for negotiations with official representatives of the Assad regime on the basis of the Geneva statement of June 2012 and other international resolutions regarding the resumption of talks.

Assad declared on Friday that he would not negotiate with armed groups, appearing to scupper peace talks that Russia and the United States had hoped to bring about next month.

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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