Published: Mon, March 06, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Syrian government accuses opposition of holding Geneva peace talks 'hostage'

Syrian government accuses opposition of holding Geneva peace talks 'hostage'

The Geneva peace talks were convened after a shaky ceasefire was brokered between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's allies Russian Federation and Iran with Turkey.

While the PYD was not invited due to opposition from Turkey, the Kurdish National Council (KNC) -that is part of the Turkey-supported Syrian National Coalition (SNC)- joined the peace talks.

The government delegation asked that a fourth "basket" that would focus entirely on anti-terrorism be included in the talks agenda before it agrees to continue negotiations, a request the opposition appears hesitant to accept for fear that the government would use it to sideline discussions on political transition, its central goal.

03 de marzo de 2017, 17:43Moscow, Mar 3 (Prensa Latina) Russia expects success in the negotiations about Syria in Geneva, to which we never challenged our efforts for a dialogue between the Syrian conflicting sides in Astana, Russian Foreign Vice Minister Serguei Riabkov stated today.

Interestingly, Mistura and other United Nations officials were openly dubious of the idea that the talks this time around were going to lead to anything, and at the start they just seemed to be going through the motions.

The fourth round of talks on the Syrian conflict in Geneva ended with the modest hope that the two sides to the conflict realise that dialogue is the only viable option left to settle the six-year old conflict, which left almost half-a-million people dead, hundreds of thousands injured and no less than 11 million Syrians either displaced or refugees.

However, after a week of indirect talks, little progress has been made in getting the two sides to the negotiating table.

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The opposition says political transition - specifically the fate of President Assad - should be added to the discussions.

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But, the envoy warned, there are "people in Syria and outside who still believe there is a military option or a military solution". "We are really working hand in hand but there are two hands".

Government representatives, meanwhile, have accused the opposition of taking the talks "hostage", accusing the rebels of including members of "armed terrorist groups".

"This is a war of six years where people were not even looking at each other".

"While it remains our goal to secure an agreement to move to direct negotiations between the government and the opposition, there is a moment in fact when it is more effective to have a proxy meeting like we have had this time".

Damascus sought a unified Syrian opposition.

"We accepted to enter an open-ended political process", al-Rais said.

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