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Syria group discussing ‘terror’ blacklist: Jordan

Mideast Syria Russia

New York: The 17 powers meeting in New York on the Syrian peace process are finalizing a list of groups to be deemed “terrorist” and excluded from talks, Jordan said today.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Syria Support Group talks, Jordan’s foreign minister Nasser Judeh said his country had coordinated the creation of the list.

“Today, in the meeting I presented a matrix that reflects the positions of respective countries, this is not a Jordanian document, this is a Jordanian coordinated document,” he said.

“In other words it is a compilation of the views of the countries and I think there will be follow-up steps now.”

Jordan’s terror blacklist, along with Saudi Arabia’s efforts to build a united opposition negotiating team, is one of the most delicate parts of the so-called Vienna Process.

This plan, backed by the United States and Russia, would see Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime sit down for ceasefire talks with rebels in the New Year — if participants are agreed.

Judeh said the 17 countries in the Support Group had submitted different lists of which armed factions on the ground in Syria they consider irredeemable extremists.

According to US and Russian officials there is general agreement the Islamic State group and the Al Qaeda-aligned Nusra Front will be excluded from the peace process.

But other names on the list will prove controversial, with Arab members like Saudi Arabia supporting some armed Sunni groups and Assad’s allies backing some Shiite militias.

“Jordan was asked to help determine which of the groups should be designated terrorist or not,” Judeh said, adding that countries had submitted between 10 and 20 names each.

“The initial work has ben done, now I think that there will be follow up meetings,” he said, refusing to be drawn on whether there would be a final list today.