Pravda Tv 24/11/2016
Elder son of the US President-elect Donald Trump Jr carried out private talks with diplomats, businessmen and politicians in Paris, where they discussed possible ways of cooperation with Russia on Syria. The meeting was held on 11 October at the Ritz hotel, 30 politicians and businessmen took part. In particular, Randa Kassis, leader of the moderate Syrian opposition, was present. Before that she used to speak for cooperation with Russia and Bashar al-Assad. On 22 November she claimed in an interview with Al-Jazeera: ‘Russia has interfered to save the country, for the sake of Syria. The problem is that you do not know Russians, do not understand them… You just accuse them of being against opposition’.
It should be noted that Randa Kassis has visited Moscow several times as a representative of moderate opposition. She is also called to be a friend of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
After the US elections Kassis expressed hope on her Facebook page that she had managed to get across idea on effective cooperation to the US President-elect via his son.
Middle East Eye 24/11/2016
Donald Trump’s son held meetings in Paris with a prominent member of a Syrian “patriotic opposition” group strongly backed by Russia, strengthening expectations that the new US administration will side with Moscow in the Syrian war.
Donald Trump Jr was at the French capital’s Ritz hotel on 11 October, according to the Wall Street Journal, to hold meetings co-hosted by Randa Kassis, a politician backed by Moscow which supports Russian intervention and is viewed as pro-government by opposition groups currently backed by the US.
Her husband Fabien Baussart, a French businessman who runs the Centre of Political and Foreign Affairs think tank who has strong commercial ties to Russia, was also at the conference. According to the newspaper the meetings also involved diplomats, businessmen and politicians.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway confirmed to the Journal that the president-elect’s eldest son attended the meeting but played down his involvement.
Nevertheless, the meeting suggests the president-elect’s son will play a prominent role in the new administration and raises a predicted pivot by the US on Syria, and the sidelining of mainstream opposition groups fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Kassis recently posted comments on her Facebook page about the meeting, saying: “Syria’s opposition got hope that political process will move forward and Russia and the United States will reach accord on the issue of the Syrian crisis, because of Trump’s victory. Such hope and belief is the result of my personal meeting with Donald Trump Jr in Paris in October.”
“I succeeded to pass [to] Trump, through the talks with his son, the idea of how we can cooperate together to reach the agreement between Russia and the United States on Syria.”
Kassis’s website says she was expelled from the Syrian National Council, the broad coalition of groups opposed to Assad, “due to her many declarations alerting the Syrian opposition about the rise of Muslim fundamentalists”.
She formed the “Movement for a Pluralistic Society” in 2012, which advocates “political transition” in Syria involving Assad. The US-backed SNC has said any peace deal must include the removal of the current president.
“Russia intervened to save the country, for the sake of Syria,” Kassis said on Al Jazeera on Tuesday. “The problem is that you don’t know the Russians, you don’t understand the Russians … you just accuse the Russians of being against the opposition but you need to understand them.”
Throughout his election campaign, Trump praised Russia and the Syrian government for “fighting IS”, despite Russia concentrating its firepower on other groups in Aleppo.
In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Trump said: “I have a different view on Syria than everybody else.”
Earlier this month, Assad appeared to give the president-elect his endorsement, saying Trump would be a “natural ally” in Syria’s fight against “terrorists”.
The Guardian quoted Joseph Bahout, a Syrian expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, as saying Kassis was a good friend of Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.
The victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential elections will have a positive impact on cooperation between Moscow and Washington on Syria, Randa Kassis, the chair from the Syrian opposition Movement of the Pluralistic Society, told Sputnik on Friday.
“[Syria’s] opposition got hope that political process will move forward and Russia and the United States will reach accord on the issue of the Syrian crisis, because of Trump’s victory. Such hope and belief is the result of my personal meeting with Donald Trump junior in Paris in October… I succeeded to pass Trump, through the talks with his son, the idea of how we can cooperate together to reach the agreement between Russia and the United States on Syria,” Kassis said.
She added that there was an understanding that Trump’s team had realized that it was impossible to reach an agreement between Moscow and Washington, if to consider Russia an enemy and there was only political solution to the ongoing crisis in the Middle Eastern nation.
According to the politician, the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) hoped for victory of the Democratic Party’s Hillary Clinton and they had even ended their participation in Geneva talks on Syrian settlement after Trump’s victory. During his election campaign Trump said that the incumbent Syrian President Bashar Assad was not an ideal Syria’s governor, but several opposition groups that could come to power after his resignation could be worse. Trump said that his priority in Syria would be to eliminate the Daesh jihadist group and not to remove Assad from power.
On November 8, Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with President of the Syrian opposition Movement for a Pluralistic Society Randa Kassis.
The officials exchanged views on developments in Syria and around it, pointing to the need for an early political settlement of the Syrian crisis on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, statements by the International Syria Support Group, and the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012.
(Put the photo up of the meeting)
On September 9, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov conducted a number of meetings at the Russian Foreign Ministry with representatives of the Moscow, Astana and Cairo groups of the Syrian opposition Qadri Jamil, Randa Kassis, Jihad Makdissi and Jamal Suleiman, including a round of collective consultations.
During a substantive and engaging discussion of developments in and around Syria, special emphasis was placed on the need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. It was stated that the speedy establishment of an inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue based the provisions of the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and decisions by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) could put an end to the armed conflict and reduce tensions in Syrian society.
In conclusion, the participants reaffirmed that the programmatic statements of major Syrian opposition groups should complement each other and form a common constructive negotiating platform for the sake of preserving Syria as a unified, sovereign and secular state, in which all citizens enjoy equal rights irrespective of ethnic or religious identity.
PARIS, June 3. /TASS/. Russian president’s special envoy on the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bodganov plans to meet with representatives of the Syrian opposition in Paris later on Friday.
“Today, I will have contacts with representatives of the Syrian opposition, including with Randa Kassis [of the Moscow-Cairo group – TASS],” he told TASS.
According to the Russian diplomat, Moscow is maintaining contacts with various representatives of the Syrian opposition. “We stay in contacts with the opposition not only inside Syria, but also in many other Arab and European countries,” he said.
On May 16, ahead of the International Syria Support Group’s (ISSG) fifth ministerial meeting in Vienna, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Syrian patriotic opposition leaders, including leader of the Movement for a
Pluralistic Society Randa Kassis, representative of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Khaled Issa,
representative of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation Qadri Jamil, who is also one of the leaders of Moscow-Cairo opposition platform, and Elian Masaad, coordinator of the Internal Damascus Platform at the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.
On May 16, ahead of the International Syria Support Group’s (ISSG) fifth ministerial meeting in Vienna, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Syrian patriotic opposition leaders, including leader of the Movement for a Pluralistic Society Randa Kassis, representative of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Khaled Issa, representative of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation Qadri Jamil, who is also one of the leaders of Moscow-Cairo opposition platform, and Elian Masaad, coordinator of the Internal Damascus Platform at the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.
The sides exchanged opinions on a wide range of issues pertaining to the Syrian settlement and reaffirmed the importance of sustainable and productive intra-Syrian talks in Geneva under UN auspices aimed at easing tensions between parties of the conflict and re-directing the intra-Syrian dialogue toward defining the contours of a renovated, united, sovereign, integral and secular Syria. The Syrian opposition leaders proposed practical measures for attaining this goal.
The Moscow-Cairo opposition participating in the intra-Syrian talks has called for the reduction of presidential powers in the Arab republic, the group’s senior member told Sputnik Wednesday.
“We stand for ensuring that the government has its powers, and the president should not have such powers as it is now in Syria, it is illogical,” Randa Kassis told reporters.
Also Kassis stated that the Moscow-Cairo opposition will not recognize the parliamentary elections in Syria set for April 13.
“The elections to the legislature [on April 13] are an inappropriate step. They won’t be recognized by the international community, and we will not recognize them, or why we have come to Geneva then,” Randa Kassis said.
The latest round of negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition forces kicked off on March 14 in Geneva and is due to recess on Thursday, March 24.
UN web tv 23/03/2016
Randa Kassis, Moscow-Astana Platform speaks to reporters after a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura
Arabic with consecutive English Interpretation