The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has announced its refusal to attend a new round of negotiations in Geneva on the grounds that the conditions for negotiation have not yet been achieved and that the humanitarian situation in Syria is at its worst. The HNC also said that de Mistura’s announcement of a new round of negotiations scheduled for the end of August is just a Russian attempt to pressurise the UN envoy. The committee also called for an emergency meeting in Riyadh to cope with current developments on the ground.
The head of the Syrian negotiating delegation Asaad Al-Zoubi in Geneva told Asharq Al-Awsat that de Mistura has taken great pains to resume a new round of negotiations after the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent statements that directly accused the UN envoy of “neglecting the role that he was requested to carry out”.
Al-Zoubi also said that the Russians are coercing de Mistura into achieving a political solution before Obama’s presidency ends and that de Mistura wants to take advantage of the time leading up to the end of the US administration. He also pointed out that the UN envoy is compelled to achieve something before the end of his tenure at the United Nations.
The head of the Syrian negotiating delegation also stressed that there is no reason to hold a new round of negotiations because of the lack of any progress with regards to fulfilling the conditions that directly led to the suspension of negotiations. The head of the negotiating delegation cited the Security Council’s resolution on Syria 2254 which contained a clear paragraph about lifting the siege and allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid to those who required it in the besieged areas. He stressed that the paragraph meant a “continuous delivery (of aid) and not a little amount of aid that does not last for more than a day or two and that is intermittent.”
Al-Zoubi continued by saying that news that the regime is tightening the military siege on the opposition in Aleppo is incorrect and pointed out that the siege on Aleppo currently applies to civilians only and aims to curb the movement of civilians. He said that the opposition is able to move around and that the southern, south eastern and south western parts of Aleppo are not besieged. Al-Zoubi continued by saying that there are areas belonging to the regime’s forces that are besieged by opposition factions, and that the regime is besieging the northern and north eastern side of Aleppo in order to secure the main road.