December 25, 2015 / 11:31 AM / 5 years ago

Qatar opposes creation of opposition lists before Syria peace talks

Khaled al-Attiyah, Qatari Foreign Affairs Minister, attends a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Sharm el Sheik, South Sinai, Egypt, Thursday, March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Hartwell/Pool/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah said on Friday he opposed the creation of lists of opposition before peace talks on Syria.

“We are against the absolute classification of groups. What is more important is to understand the logic behind why these groups took up arms, their aims and motives,” he told reporters at a news conference with his Russian counterpart in Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was crucial to ensure that the widest circle of opposition members take part in future talks to end Syria’s civil war.

As with the question of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fate, diplomats say it will be extremely hard to reach consensus on a list of rebel groups to be excluded and legitimate members of an opposition who would participate in the negotiations.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Thursday during a visit to Beijing that Damascus was ready to take part in peace talks in Geneva and hoped that the dialogue would help it form a national unity government.

The U.N. Security Council on Dec. 18 unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international road map for a Syrian peace process, a rare show of consensus among major powers on a conflict that has claimed over a quarter of a million lives.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow and Mostafa Hashem in Cairo; Writing by Yara Bayoumy and Polina Devitt; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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