Syrian gov't delegation blames opposition for coming to Geneva with "precondition"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-15 01:57:31|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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GENEVA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The head of the Syrian government delegation to the Syrian peace talks, Bashar al-Ja'afari, said Thursday his team would not talk to the opposition delegation due to a statement it released before the current talks began, known as "the Riyadh communique".

After a meeting with the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at the United Nations in Geneva, al-Ja'afari told reporters that Syria did not want the talks to fail, but the opposition had come with "a precondition" it set in November at a conference known as "Riyadh 2".

At the conference, a declaration was issued that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did not have a role to play in the country's political transition.

"As long as the Riyadh 2 communique stands, we will not engage in direct talks," said al-Ja'afari.

Earlier this week, the Syrian opposition delegation 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," the opposition delegation said in a statement issued after their meeting with de Mistura.

The new round of UN-led Syrian peace talks started on Nov. 28 and was scheduled to be held 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 is scheduled for Dec. 21 and 22 in the Kazakh capital of Astana.