‘Trump’s son participated in meeting on Syria’s future’

New York, Nov 24 (IANS) Donald Trump Jr., the older son of the US President-elect, in October participated in a private meeting in Paris at which the possibility of supporting Russian efforts to halt the war in Syria was discussed, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The meeting took place on October 11 at the Ritz Hotel in the French capital and included diplomats, politicians and businessmen, some of the participants confirmed.

Among the participants was Randa Kassis, who is a member of one of the Syrian opposition groups that was created in Moscow and which, according to the Journal, is being supported by the Kremlin in the search for a end to the war that erupted in Syria five years ago, EFE news reported.

The meeting was organised by Kassis’s husband, Fabien Baussart, the President of the French Centre for Political and Foreign Affairs, a think tank that often organises international meetings on subjects on the world agenda.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the younger Trump’s participation at the meeting stirred controversy about the role of the now-president-elect’s family members in affairs of state and his stated desire to cooperate closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kassis confirmed to the paper that Trump’s son had participated in the meeting, saying that he had emphasised the importance of having Russian cooperation in Middle Eastern conflicts such as the one in Syria.

In an earlier message posted on her Facebook page, Kassis had said that the Syrian opposition was sure that Russia and the United States could reach an agreement on the conflict thanks to Trump’s presidential victory.

Trump’s former campaign chief, Kellyanne Conway, said that Trump Jr. was present only at one roundtable discussion in Paris, adding that Kassis participated in that discussion, and in a group dinner for about 30 people to analyse the prospects for the US election.

Rivalries between Russia and the United States so far have hindered progress on finding a solution for ending the war in Syria despite the efforts being made by the United Nations to get all parties to agree.

Among other issues, the administration of outgoing President Barack Obama and the government in Moscow have not agreed on the role of Syrian President Bashar al Assad in a political solution to the conflict.