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Syrian Kurds Discuss Constitution in Geneva, Want Independence or Confederation

Sputnik 26/03/2017

Syrian Kurds in a group of Syrians, who arrived to Geneva to discuss legal aspects of a future constitutional change, have put forward two options aimed at solving the Kurdish issue – territorial separation of the Kurdish autonomy from Syria or making Syria a confederation, a source in the commission told Sputnik on Sunday.
GENEVA (Sputnik) – The commission for constitutional review that arrived in Geneva is composed of Syrian legal experts and opposition members and is headed by Syrian opposition figure, leader of the Movement of the Pluralistic Society Randa Kassis. The commission is currently reviewing the Russian constitutional draft, which was submitted to Syrians for consideration in January during Astana talks.
“We are now discussing two proposals that come from the Kurdish representatives (the Kurds have divided themselves). The first proposal is a territorial separation of the Kurds from Syria. They suggest deciding on the borders and forming a Kurdish state, absolutely separate from the Syrian state and not having any relation to the autonomy in Iraq or the Kurds in Turkey,” the source in the commission said.
Another option is turning Syria into a confederation, the source added.
“The second line is making Syria a confederation with centralized power. That would mean that the Kurds get an autonomy that has its own language, culture, freedom of expression and governing institutions,” the source said.
The source noted that the second proposal was much more realistic from the legal point of view than the first one.
The commission is supposed to come up with a revised constitutional draft. Once it is ready, commission’s head is supposed to hand it over to the officials she is going to meet with.
Kassis told Sputnik that she would meet with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in Geneva on Tuesday.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201703261051972536-syria-kurds-constitution/


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Randa Kassis speaks to Sputnik after her meeting with Gennadi Gatilov and Sergey Vershinin on the 28th of February

Sputnik 02/03/2017

Achieving a positive outcome at the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva requires resignation of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Randa Kassis, a representative of the Astana platform of Syrian opposition, told Sputnik Tuesday.
GENEVA (Sputnik) – Kassis said he had come to the conclusion after speaking to various parties of the negotiating process.
“As of today, the Geneva talks are unsuccessful. I have spoken… about the ways of improving the fate of Geneva. This will not happen until de Mistura resigns,” Kassis, the leader of Syria’s Movement of the Pluralistic Society, said.
No party to the Geneva talks has been satisfied with the process to date, Kassis said, adding that she expects no results from the ongoing round of the negotiations.
Kassis noted that the members of the Astana platform did not want to diminish role of the Geneva peace talks in the Syrian settlement process, adding that there is ongoing coordination between the Astana group and Russia’s representatives, aimed at achieving “better results.”
Earlier in the day, the Astana platform members met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in Geneva.
The fourth round of UN-backed intra-Syrian talks between the government and opposition factions kicked off in Geneva on Thursday.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/politics/201702281051135076-geneva-successful-de-mistura-resignation/


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Syrian Opposition Member Says Geneva Talks May Bear Fruit If De Mistura Resigns

Sputnik 01/03/2017

Achieving a positive outcome at the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva requires resignation of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, Randa Kassis, a representative of the Astana platform of Syrian opposition, told Sputnik Tuesday.
GENEVA (Sputnik) – Kassis said he had come to the conclusion after speaking to various parties of the negotiating process.
As of today, the Geneva talks are unsuccessful. I have spoken… about the ways of improving the fate of Geneva. This will not happen until de Mistura resigns," Kassis, the leader of Syria's Movement of the Pluralistic Society, said.
No party to the Geneva talks has been satisfied with the process to date, Kassis said, adding that she expects no results from the ongoing round of the negotiations.
Kassis noted that the members of the Astana platform did not want to diminish role of the Geneva peace talks in the Syrian settlement process, adding that there is ongoing coordination between the Astana group and Russia’s representatives, aimed at achieving "better results."

Earlier in the day, the Astana platform members met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in Geneva.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/politics/201702281051135076-geneva-successful-de-mistura-resignation/


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Press release on Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov’s meetings on the sidelines of the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva

MID 28/02/2017

On February 28, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov met with Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, the Syrian government delegation led by Bashar Jaafari, Randa Kassis, the leader of the Movement of the Pluralistic Society, and a number of European special representatives for Syria.
The parties held a detailed exchange of opinions on all aspects of the Syrian settlement.
The Russian representative confirmed his country’s principled position on all aspects of the Syrian political process and voiced support for an agenda of the talks based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254, as suggested by Mr Staffan de Mistura. Mr Gatilov emphasised the need to pay due attention during the talks to the fight against terrorism, as provided for by UN Security Council Resolution 2254. He noted that real progress towards a Syrian settlement was only possible if the entire spectrum of the Syrian opposition was represented in the intra-Syrian dialogue.
(Put the photo up of the meeting with Gatilov in Geneva)

Source: https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2660378


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Syrian Opposition to Meet Russian Deputy FM in Geneva

Sputnik 28/02/2017

Head of the Astana platform of the Syrian opposition Randa Kassis stated that she plans to have meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in Geneva.
GENEVA (Sputnik) – Members of the Astana platform of the Syrian opposition will meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in Geneva on Tuesday, head of the platform Randa Kassis told Sputnik.
“This morning I will have a meeting with Russian deputy foreign minister Gatilov,” she said.
The fourth round of UN-backed intra-Syrian talks between the government and opposition factions began on Thursday. The discussions are expected to center around governance, constitutional issues and elections in Syria.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/politics/201702281051109443-russia-syria-astana/


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Kassis meets Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan

Astana Platform 15/02/2017

A meeting between Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Foreign Minister for the Republic of Kazakhstan, Randa Kassis, President of Astana platform and Fabien Baussart, President of the CPFA in Astana 15th of February to discuss about the preparations for Astana process.


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Meeting between Astana Platform’s President and a Russian delegation

Astana Platform 15/02/2017

Meeting between Alexander Lavrentyev, Special representative of President Putin and the head of the Russian delegation in Astana talks, Sergey Vershinian Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department, Randa Kassis, President of the Astana platform and Fabien Baussart, President of the CPFA to discuss about the preparations for the Astana initiative.


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Syria’s HNC Cannot Represent Armed Opposition After Astana Talks – Opposition

Sputnik 27/01/2017

Syria’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Riyadh-formed Syrian opposition could no longer represent armed opposition following the Astana peace talks, Syria’s secular opposition leader from the Movement of the Pluralistic Society, Randa Kassis, told Sputnik on Friday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian-Turkish-Iranian-backed Astana talks concluded on Tuesday, with government and opposition representatives signing a declaration on a ceasefire monitoring mechanism to uphold the December 29 ceasefire agreement. Syrian armed opposition delegation confirmed its commitment to the nationwide ceasefire agreement.
“The Riyadh bloc cannot state today that it represents armed opposition, since the agreements at [Astana] talks were achieved due to the guarantor represented by Turkey,” Kassis said, referring to the fact that Turkey, which wields influence on some parts of the opposition, was one of the declaration’s guarantors.
The opposition leader stressed that the Riyadh-based opposition wanted to participate in political negotiations amid the ceasefire in Syria, thus proving it did not belong to the armed opposition.
According to Kassis, the Astana talks separated the definitions of political and military with regards to opposition forces.
The Astana negotiations will be followed by a UN-mediated meeting in Geneva expected to take place on February 8.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201701271050074640-syria-hnc-opposition/


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Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with representatives of the Syrian opposition

MID 27/01/2017

On January 27, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov received a delegation of the Syrian political opposition in Moscow, including representative of the Moscow Group Qadri Jamil, a leader of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation; Randa Kassis, representative of the Astana Group and Chair of the Movement for a Pluralistic Society; Cairo Group representatives Jihad Makdissi and Jamal Suleiman; Hasan Ismael Abdulazeem, General Coordinator of the National Coordination Body for Forces of Democratic Change and a member of the Higher Negotiations Committee; Hmeymim Group Chairman Ilian Masaad; representatives of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party and Kurdish Self-Government for Northern Syria Khaled Issa and Ali Abdessalyam; leader of the Building the Syrian State Party Louay Hussein; and leader of the People’s Will Party Alya Arafat.
That same day, Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov held in-depth consultations with the Syrian opposition delegation.
Syrian opposition activists representing various political associations and factions were briefed on Russia’s assessment of the January 23-24 international meeting on Syria in Astana. At the same time, Mr Lavrov urged the partners to take an active part in launching a sustained negotiating process for a Syrian political settlement in Geneva, in cooperation with UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.
A new draft Syrian constitution, prepared jointly by Russian and Arab experts and distributed by the Russian delegation in Astana, was presented to the meeting participants.
Representatives of the Syrian domestic and external opposition praised Russia’s efforts toward resolving the Syrian crisis as quickly as possible through an inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, decisions of the International Syria Support Group and the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012.
The Syrian negotiators voiced their intention to establish working groups for constitutional issues and for establishing a consolidated opposition delegation at the upcoming round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva under UN auspices.

Source: https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2615618


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Russian deputy foreign minister to meet with Syrian opposition

MID 12/12/2016

On December 12th, M.L Bogdanov, special representative of the President of the Federation of Russia for the Near East and countries of Africa and Vice-Minister of Russian Foreign Affairs, welcomed Randa Kassis, President of the “Movement for a Pluralistic Society”, the Syrian opposition movement. During the discussion, there was an exchange of opinions on the military-political situation which is taking shape in Syria, and especially in the North concerning Russia’s efforts to make the humanitarian circumstances easier in Alep. The two parties confirmed the main position in favor of a most rapid resumption of inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue, the goal being to settle the Syrian crisis on the basis of Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council, and corresponding decisions of the International Support Group of Syria and of the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012.

Source: https://www.mid.ru/web/guest/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2558306


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