The Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee (HNC) postponed to later Thursday its decision on whether it will be attending the third peace talks, to be held in Geneva on Jan. 29.
Meanwhile, the HNC holds deliberations in Riyadh on whether to participate in the upcoming talks, the United Nations made it clear that peace talks’ participation is exclusive to Syrian partakers only.
In response to AFP’s questions on the monitoring delegations from Turkey, Russia, France, and United States, UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said that the invitations on behalf of the UN are intended for Syrians only, and not for any other party out of that framework.
De Mistura’s statement is also perceived as an answer to the threats made by Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, on Turkey withdrawing its contribution to the peace talks, should the Democratic Union Party (Syria KurdishPYD) attend.
However, Russian deputy foreign minister, Gennady Gatilov, announced that the Kurdish PYD might later on be joining the deliberations. Walid Muallem, Syrian Foreign Minister, announced that he will be leading the regime representative delegation.
For his part, Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the Kurdish PYD, said that if his party is be kept from the peace talks, then the entire Syrian National Democratic Council (SNDC) will refrain from participation.
SNDC co-leader Haytham Manna, in keeping with Salih Muslims declarations, has already announced that he will be opting out of the peace talks if both his Kurdish peers Salih Muslim and Ilham Ahmed do not receive their invitations.
HNC sources in Riyadh told Asharq Al-Awsat that the committee leans towards participating in the peace talks, because, otherwise, withholding of participation does not serve the Opposition’s best political interest nor military benefit .