UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (3rd R) arrives for a meeting 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. 12, 2017. (Xinhua/POOL/Xu Jinquan)
GENEVA, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian peace talks continued here Tuesday, with United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura meeting and holding separate bilateral talks with both the Syrian government and opposition delegations.
It is the 8th round of Syrian peace talks led by the UN.
The government delegation, headed by its UN representative Bashar al-Jaafari, made no statement after the meeting with the UN envoy. While the opposition claimed, "there is an opportunity here in Geneva this week that we must take for the sake of our people."
"The opportunity is to sit down, face to face, under the chairmanship of the UN Special Envoy, and begin negotiations on political transition on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254," the opposition delegation said in a statement issued after their meeting with de Mistura.
"Our goal is a transition to make Syria safe for our people to come home," the statement said.
The opposition has remained firm in their stance that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be deposed as a prelude to any political process, which is seen by the government as unacceptable, since the Syrian government forces have retaken key and large areas from the rebels.
The new round of the UN-led Syrian peace talks started on Nov. 28 and is scheduled to continue until Dec. 15. The major obstacle for any expected breakthrough was described by the UN as a lack of trust.
In parallel with the UN-backed Geneva process, a new round of the Russia-led international negotiations on the settlement of the Syrian conflict has been scheduled for Dec. 21 to 22 in the Kazakh capital of Astana.