WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – Two weeks of talks on Syria’s political future ended Thursday without making any progress, the UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said in Geneva at the conclusion of the eighth round of negotiations.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, left, attends a round of negotiations with the delegation of the Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC) during the Intra Syria talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 14. 2017. (Photo: Xu Jinquan/AP)
De Mistura blamed Damascus for the failure of the talks, saying, “I did not see the [Syrian] government really looking to find a way to have a dialogue.”
“It’s a big, missed opportunity, a golden opportunity missed at the end of the year,” he lamented.
The Syrian delegation arrived a day late to the negotiations, which began on Nov. 28, and then left after two more days, protesting the opposition’s refusal to accept the notion that President Bashar al-Assad would play a role in the political transition.
The delegation returned to Geneva earlier this week and met with de Mistura, but maintained its position that it would not negotiate as long as the opposition insisted that Assad step down.
Despite the difficulties, the US has reaffirmed that its policy continues to be based on the UN-mediated talks. As State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on Tuesday, “We remain committed to the Geneva process.”
De Mistura called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence with Assad and “have the courage” to push Damascus to enter into a meaningful dialogue with the opposition.
Similarly, Nauert stated, “We expect that Russia will continue to try to bring the [Syrian] regime to the table.”
On Monday, Putin made a lightning tour of three Middle Eastern countries: Syria, Egypt, and Turkey. Syria’s future was a major topic in the discussions he held in each country. However, in the press conferences that followed his meetings, Putin made no mention of the Geneva negotiations.
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