The discussion on de-escalation zones has had a positive impact on the Syrian opposition’s mood in Geneva, Russia’s Permanent Representative at the UN Office and Other International Organizations in the Swiss city Alexey Borodavkin said on Saturday.

“The Astana process has had a very positive impact on the situation and atmosphere of talks in Geneva,” the diplomat said. The opposition delegation has revised its stance showing more understanding that mending ties with Damascus is necessary for carrying out reforms and changing the constitution in Syria, setting up new governing bodies, holding fair elections and combating terrorism, he said.

“The Astana process and the agreement on de-escalation in four zones have affected the opposition leaders in a positive way,” Borodavkin said. “Now they are holding talks much more constructively and try to show flexibility if possible.”

Extremist elements insisting on the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad remain in the Riyadh group of the opposition, diplomat said. “There are still drawbacks in the negotiating process. I should say the major one is that unfortunately the Riyadh group at these talks still includes extremist-minded elements that demand, though in a low voice, the departure of the legitimate Syrian President Bashar Assad,” the diplomat said.

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