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Moscow Sets March 20 Date for Geneva 5 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura delivers his speech during the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 19, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Paris- Western diplomatic sources saw that the main positive result of the eight days of Geneva 4 is that both delegations (the regime and the High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian Opposition (HNC)) agreed to discuss in a parallel manner the following four topics: governance, constitution, elections and terrorism in Geneva 5.

They considered that this would prevent any of the two parties from hurdling the progress in discussions because slowness in one topic would be met with an advancement in another file in a way that maintains political dynamism.

Also, both parties have finally agreed to the four topics suggested by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Regarding Geneva 5, these sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the Russian party intended to announce resumption of negotiations on March 20 without getting back to de Mistura in an attempt to put pressure on him. De Mistura, in his concluding news conference, did not specify a date and only announced that Geneva 5 would be held in March.

However, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al Ja’afari and head of the Syrian government delegation, said on Saturday that Damascus is still considering whether it will return to the talks in Geneva next month.

Although this is a significant step but it is still a procedural one and true success is measured by achieving a progress “in depth”.