New round of Syria talks begins in Geneva

UN Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura meets main Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Council; regime delegation expected to arrive Friday

New round of Syria talks begins in Geneva

World Bulletin / News Desk

A new round of peace talks to resolve the ongoing Syria conflict began in Geneva Wednesday, with the UN envoy still unable to give a date for a face-to-face meeting between the warring opposition and regime delegations.

The latest round started with a meeting between UN Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura and a Syrian opposition delegation; Bashar al-Assad regime delegation was yet to arrive in Geneva for the talks.

After his meeting, de Mistura said he raised concerns about the deterioration of security situation in Syria. He, however, sounded a hopeful note, pointing out that " spite of the several and serious incidents, the cessation of hostilities is still holding."

About the possibility of direct talks between Syrian regime and opposition, the envoy said: "I cannot fix a date. I will only tell you one thing: the moment I perceive any type of possibility for this to take place, I will immediately do it."

Meanwhile, Asaad al-Zoubi, chief negotiator for main Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Council, blamed the Assad regime for trying to destabilize the cessation-of-hostilities truce through its alleged repeated and deliberate attacks.

"Assad and his supporters are ready to destroy Syria even the whole region," al-Zoubi said. There were more than 2,000 breaches of the truce by the Syrian regime, while it dropped 420 barrel bombs in March alone, he said.

He also blamed Russia for the chaos. "Moscow is not serious about [setting up a] transitional governing body [in Syria]," he said, adding the claim that the outcome of de Mistura's visits to Tehran and Damascus had not been "very positive."

The Syrian regime delegation is expected to join Syria talks on Friday after the Assad regime requested to resume talks after parliamentary elections were held in Syria Wednesday.

In March, at the end of the last round of talks, de Mistura handed a document to the Syrian regime and opposition in Geneva, outlining basic principles for a political solution to the Syria crisis. He said that neither the regime delegation nor the opposition delegation rejected this document.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to the UN.

Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2016, 09:14
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