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Hammond: Syria talks will be "difficult"

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 01:08

On the eve of Syria talks, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond offers cautious expectations of the outcome. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). On the night before the second round of Syria talks, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the discussions on Saturday will likely focus on the fate of President Bashar al-Assad. ''This the second in what I imagine will be a series of talks. I don't think we are going to complete the process tomorrow by any means, but the important thing is that everybody is around the table and talking, and that we now have a process underway. And of course there are a number of difficult issues of which the future of Bashar al-Assad is probably the most difficult and yes that will certainly remain as an important subject tomorrow," Hammond told reporters outside the hotel where he had just finished meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri. Hammond said the UK and Egypt were working on a way to ensure British tourists come back to the resort after a Russian plane crashed after take off from the resort two weeks earlier. ''We want to get British tourists back to Sharm al-Sheikh as soon as possible‎. Business as usual with the tour operators being able to take the millions of Britons who want to visit Sharm al-Sheikh to the resort so the Egyptian hoteliers and people working in the tourist industry, who are looking forward to welcoming them, can do so as soon as possible. We had a good discussion about how to take forward the necessary steps to ensure that can happen as soon as possible," he added. Foreign ministers were gathering in Vienna on Friday for a new round of talks in a bid to step up diplomatic efforts to end a four-year-old conflict in Syria. The meeting brings together 17 countries including officials from Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Europe and three international bodies. It is a second round of negotiations between the world and regional powers with a stake in Syria's war.

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Hammond: Syria talks will be "difficult"

Friday, November 13, 2015 - 01:08