Reuters – The foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany called on the main Syrian opposition to attend inter Syrian peace talks due to begin next week, but warned that the negotiations would only succeed if humanitarian access was granted and a ceasefire respected.
“If these two conditions are not met, then the negotiation process is bound to fail, which we do not want,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told journalists after the talks in Paris.
The ministers were meeting as their leaders held a conference call on Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed at putting pressure on Moscow to use its influence on Syrian president Bashar al Assad ahead of the resumption of talks on March 9 in Geneva.
Its chief coordinator, Riad Hijab, was holding talks with French officials on Friday. Paris has been one of several crucial backers of the group, and advised it through negotiations in January which were paused by UN specific Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.
“We have encouraged this morning Dr. Hijab, whatever his reservations, to be prepared to return to the discussions in Geneva, to engage in good faith in the discussions,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.
“On our part, we’ve taken the engagement to press those on the other side – the regime, the Russians – to increase their compliance to live up to their obligations under this agreement,” he added.