Syria opposition calls for direct talks with Assad government in Geneva

Ebony Scott
November 29, 2017

The delegation had delayed its planned departure for the talks, which begin on Tuesday, because of the opposition's insistence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down.

The delegation of the Syrian government is expected to arrive on November 29.

Ahead of the eighth round of UN-brokered talks peace talks in Switzerland, Mr de Mistura told the Security Council that the Syrian government and a united opposition should engage in negotiations in Geneva without any preconditions and that all other initiatives should support the UN mediation process. "We see the emergence of worldwide consensus, and we must begin to stitch the process into concrete results, enabling Syrians to determine their own future freely".

"I was just informed by the Russians today at the P5 meeting that the Russians have proposed and the government has accepted a ceasefire on Eastern Ghouta because we were and are very concerned about it", de Mistura said. United Nations figures show that the Syrian war has killed more than 330,000 people and displaced millions.

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In an emailed statement, the opposition negotiating committee said it was ready to meet the government side.

"It no longer has the pretext that the opposition is fragmented".

De Mistura said he believes it is possible for the two sides to narrow their differences as they negotiate under a framework approved by the U.N. Security Council that calls for a new constitution and elections. The opposition delegation - which is being led by Nasr Al Hariri - told The National that it was also expecting government representatives to arrive on Wednesday.

A breakthrough in the talks is seen as unlikely as Assad and his allies push for total military victory in Syria's civil war, now in its seventh year, and his opponents stick by their demand he leave power.

Other reports by GizPress

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