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France pushes for Syria contact group proposal


(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) PARIS, Aug 24 (KUNA) -- France is pursuing consulations with its "principal partners" over a proposal by Paris to set up a "contact group" for Syria on a restricted level, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

The French proposal aims to streamline the peace efforts and the various negotiation forums that have sprung up to end Syria's bloody conflict which erupted in 2011.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed the situation in Syria with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura in closed meetings on Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatec-Espagne, responding to questions in a briefng on Thursday, said that the French plan to form a contact group was designed "to restart and support the efforts" of the UN envoy, whose mission has been losing pace.

As for France's position on the Syrian opposition groups and the disarray within this movement, Paris said that it recognises that the High Committee Negotiations "include the majority of opposition groups, as much military as political," and represents the opposition in the ongoing talks.

The High Committee "has a legitimate role to play," the French foreign ministry added. (end) jk.nam

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