Syrian opposition refuses to add terrorism to United Nations talks agenda

Miranda GreerMar 03, 2017

The leader of an al-Qaida Syrian affiliate is deriding exiled Syrian politicians and rebels for taking part in talks mediated by the United Nations in Geneva with the aim of ending the Syrian conflict.

United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura has proposed to the negotiators in Geneva that the issue of fighting terrorism and the ceasefire should be handled in parallel talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran.

Syria's opposition on Monday urged Russian Federation, a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, to put pressure on Damascus to help kickstart sputtering peace talks in Geneva.

Kodmani was speaking after talks with a Russian envoy to the Geneva talks, which began last Thursday but which have struggled to get underway.

The U.N. -led negotiations edged forwards on Wednesday, for the first time in six days, as both sides saw hope of shaping the agenda to their liking, but with indirect talks wrapping up this weekend there is little prospect of any real breakthrough. Opposition sources had said they expected to meet the Middle East director at Russia's foreign ministry, Sergei Vershinin, later on Tuesday.

In a statement to Russian reporters, Gatilov said the Syrians do not have a problem with the agenda proposed by de Mistura, but they think that terrorism and fighting it are of greater urgency.

The talks are governed by U.N. Security Council resolution 2254, which sets out a political transition process including plans for a new constitution, U.N. -supervised elections and transparent and accountable governance.

However, de Mistura said he believes the issues of terrorism, ceasefire and delivery of humanitarian aid were the "specialty" of the "Astana" talks organized by Russia, Turkey and Iran, while the "Geneva" talks should rather focus on political matters.

The Geneva peace process has barely reached first gear, with five days of discussion exclusively on how to arrange the talks.

"We will not deal with it, and if (UN mediator Staffan de Mistura) adds it in any time we will not deal with it or discuss it", Yehya Kodmani of the High Negotiating Committee (HNC) told reporters.

"The Geneva talks seem to be something that everyone wants because they want to have talks", said Aron Lund, a fellow at the US -based Century Foundation think tank.

"The meeting was constructive as there is a common understanding that we need to move ahead in resolving the Syria crisis", Gatilov said, adding that the sides outlined their approaches to finding solutions to the Syria crisis.

Hariri said Russia had failed to "fulfill its role as a guarantor of the ceasefire" and that the opposition was "still looking for a positive Russian role in Syria".

"The Syrian opposition is still represented here in Geneva by several groups". "But if the US vacuum continues, I think Mr.de Mistura will face a lot of obstacles on the way to a political solution".

"We are really waiting for the United States to build their positions on true information to have an active role in the region and to correct the grave mistakes of the Obama administration", Hariri said.

Related Articles:



Next article »


Popular Pages

Campaign for Obama to run in France gains momentum
Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right, nationalist, anti-immigration Front National party is tipped to win the first round. Opponents of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen have launched an " Obama17 " campaign to draft the former U.S.

Case-Shiller: US Home Prices Increased 0.7% In December
New home sales at 555,000 in 2016 are up from recent years but remain below the average pace of 700,000 per year since 1990. Since 1975, the average pace is 1.3 percent; about two-thirds of the time, the rate is between -4 percent and +7 percent.

Three injured in Heidelberg vehicle attack
Schaetzle said said a terrorist background is not suspected and the man appears to have acted alone. Security forces in Germany have been on high alert after a number of terror attacks.

Pediatricians Raise Warning Regarding Marijuana Use for Teens
It's now more concentrated, increasing the risk, the academy says, of overdose and addiction. The AAP recommends that doctors urge parents not to use pot around their kids.

Pancake Day 2017 - How to make pancakes an easy two step recipe
"We like to eat here at the Seniors Centre and ringing in Shrove Tuesday is a lovely excuse", said Beverley Nurden with a laugh. The ingredients required to make a simple pancake are milk, flour, eggs and a little bit of oil plus any toppings you may like.

Beloved hippo Gustavito dies after beating in El Salvador zoo
El Salvador , which has been ravaged by violence for years, has been mourning him on social media since news of his passing. The attack on Gustavito was " cowardly and inhumane ", the Ministry of Culture said in a statement , according to the BBC.

Joseph Wapner, Judge on 'The People's Court,' Dies at 97
He heard thousands of cases during his 12 years on the show, according to the entertainment website TMZ . Wapner leaves behind two other children and a wife, Mickey, whom he married in 1946 at the age of 27.

No. 8 North Carolina thumps Pitt, 85-67, on senior day
When these two teams met in Louisville last season, the Cardinals came out on top in a 71-65 win as one-point home favorites. Pitino is in his 32nd season as a head coach overall, and 16th at Louisville. "We were beaten by a better basketball team".

Buffett's firm says 4Q profit up 15 percent on investments
Berkshire said those operating earnings totaled $1.78 per Class B share. On Saturday, Buffett said he has "no doubt" he will win the bet.

UFC's Dana White announces Georges St-Pierre to face Michael Bisping
Today, Dana White answered that question as he announced that St-Pierre will face Michael Bisping later this year. Not because I'm trying to rob the UFC, or rob the fans of the No. 1 contender, or do wrong to Yoel Romero .