Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Geneva: Intra-Syrian Talks Likely to be Suspended Friday, Resume on March 20 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, right, prepares to shake hands with Syria’s main opposition High Negotiations Committee, HNC, leader Nasr al-Hariri upon his arrival for a meeting during Syria peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday,Feb. 27, 2017. (Fabrice Coffrini/Pool Photo via AP)

Geneva – The fourth round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva “have not yet risen to the level of negotiations”, despite continuous efforts deployed by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, according to European diplomatic sources.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the ongoing talks were likely to be suspended on Friday, with no substantial progress.

Consequently, the next round of talks would be resumed on March 20, according to sources from the Syrian opposition.

Meanwhile, the High Negotiation Committee (HNC) – Syria’s main opposition group – was expected to meet late Monday with a Russian envoy to discuss calls for Kurdish groups to join the ongoing negotiations.

The group has urged Russia to put pressure on the government of Head of Regime Bashar al-Assad to prop up stumbling efforts to end the conflict.

“We hope … that we will see real, positive and constructive support to the political process,” said lead opposition negotiator Nasr al-Hariri after holding talks with De Mistura on Monday.

“We hope … to see support [from Moscow] for the peace process which will ultimately lead to peace by putting pressure on the regime,” he added.

HNC officials said that the opposition delegation would meet Russia’s Middle East director Sergei Vershinin to discuss comments recently made by Moscow’s deputy foreign minister that Kurdish groups must take part in the talks.

Earlier this week, Russia said it hoped the Syrian opposition would form a joint delegation for the Geneva peace talks, RIA Novosti news agency said, citing Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

The agency also quoted Bogdanov as saying that Kurdish representatives should also take part in the talks.

Opposition sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meeting with the Russian delegation would be of high importance, as it would witness discussions about maintaining the fragile ceasefire that was agreed last year and Moscow’s position on the roadmap stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for the formation of a non-confessional transitional administration.