UNSC Holds 'Constructive' Talks on Syria in Positive Atmosphere - Russia

Fernando Stephens
July 15, 2017

De Mistura said Assad's negotiators had not given any indication that they were willing to discuss transition.

Arriving here in Geneva earlier this week, Xie held meetings with the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, both the Syrian government and opposition delegations as well as senior diplomats from other regional and global powers.

The envoy, however, ruled out the possibility of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC) uniting with the Moscow- and Cairo-based opposition platforms for direct talks with the Syrian government, during the ongoing round of the Geneva talks, which ends on Saturday.

The Chinese envoy, on his fourth trip to Geneva for peace talks on Syria, said that another priority now for the talks is to consolidate the ceasefire on the ground and at the same time achieve some periodical results. We have made incremental progress.

Referring to the September round of talks, de Mistura said, "We will see whether by that time the worldwide momentum. may be able to actually push all sides to finally sit in the same room and start talking about substance".

United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva that he planned to convene an eighth round of talks in early September and had instructed all sides, including the regime, to be ready to tackle the flashpoint issue of political transition.

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Some diplomats suspect the Moscow and Cairo platforms, which are much less opposed to President Bashar al-Assad than the HNC is, are little more than a mechanism created by Assad's ally Russian Federation to prevent direct negotiations and force the HNC to dilute its stance.

The opposition groups have drawn closer together, built new levels of "trust" and have scheduled to meet again later this month, de Mistura said.

He also said that, prior to the talks, the sides were expected to do meaningful work on the four "baskets" the Constitution, elections, administration, and struggle with terrorism.

Since the war in Syria broke out in March 2011, the crisis has claimed more than 320,000 lives and displaced millions, the United Nations estimated.

On that front, he praised a new initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron to create a so-called "contact group", including permanent Security Council members and regional powers, like rebel-backer Turkey and regime supporter Iran. It has been a bedrock text underlying de Mistura's efforts.

Other reports by BadHub

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