Koenders holds talks with Kurdish leader on future of Syria

Today, Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders held talks in The Hague with Ibrahim Biro, chairman of the Kurdish National Council (KNC). The aim was to lay the groundwork for a meeting about Syria being organised at the initiative of Mr Koenders next week at the UN General Assembly in New York. Mr Koenders and Mr Biro discussed recent developments in northern Syria and the role that the KNC and other opposition groups might play in Syria’s future.

Mr Koenders stressed that Syria’s future is a matter for the common concern of all parties involved. The first step towards a peaceful future for Syria was taken last weekend when the United States and Russia concluded a major agreement in Geneva. The ceasefire in that agreement has now been extended by a further 48 hours.  ‘It’s important that we use the agreement to create the right conditions for negotiations to resume,’ Mr Koenders said. ‘The situation in northern Syria is extremely complex, with many different parties involved. So we must make every effort to prevent further escalation of the conflict.’

The KNC is made up of representatives of ten Kurdish parties in northern Syria and other parts of the country. It offers an alternative Kurdish perspective and has close ties with other minority groups in Syria.

Last week Mr Koenders hosted Syrian opposition leader, Dr Riyad Hijab, general coordinator of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC). In their talks Mr Koenders stressed the importance of ensuring that as many opposition parties as possible are represented.