Syria Not Ready for More Peace Talks

Syria Not Ready for More Peace TalksSyria Not Ready for More Peace Talks

Syria’s foreign minister said on Friday it is too early to hold another United Nations-backed peace conference on Syria, indicating the dim prospects for diplomacy as a UN envoy wraps up three months of consultations on the war.

“We think that going to Geneva 3 is premature unless the Syrians address their issues among themselves,” Walid al-Moualem told a televised conference in Damascus, World Bulletin reported.

He said the Syrian government welcomes the idea of more talks with members of the Syrian opposition hosted by Russia.

Two such rounds of talks were held in Moscow earlier this year but were not attended by the main western-backed opposition coalition or other armed groups.

Moualem reiterated his government’s view that Iran’s support for Damascus would continue after its nuclear deal with world powers, including the United States, which says President Bashar al-Assad must leave power, World Bulletin reported.

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who met Moualem in Damascus on Thursday, is due to brief the UN Security Council next week about his discussions with parties involved in the war.

The UN has hosted two major conferences on Syria since 2011, the last of which brought together the government and representatives of the opposition. Those talks ended in failure early last year.

In Brussels, members of that coalition and another opposition group said they were working on their own “roadmap” for ending the war.