Syrian Gov’t Delegation to Arrive in Geneva for Peace Talks

Syrian Gov’t Delegation to Arrive in Geneva for Peace TalksSyrian Gov’t Delegation to Arrive in Geneva for Peace Talks

A Syrian government delegation will arrive in Geneva on Wednesday, a day later than expected, to attend peace talks being held there this week, Syrian state news agency SANA said.

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, Reuters reported.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has received assurances that the Syrian government delegation will attend the talks, UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told a Geneva news briefing.

“At least we know that they are coming,” she said, declining to give details on who transmitted the message from Damascus.

A delegation from the newly-unified Syrian opposition, which arrived in the Swiss city on Monday, is due to hold a first meeting with de Mistura later on Tuesday, she said.

Earlier, the pro-Damascus Syrian newspaper al-Watan reported that the Syrian government delegation to an eighth round of peace talks in Geneva this week has not yet left Damascus.

It had reported on Monday that the delay was because of the opposition’s insistence that Assad step down, which he has refused to do.

Nasr Hariri, head of the opposition delegation, told a Geneva news conference on Monday night that he is aiming for Assad’s removal as a result of negotiations.

Meanwhile, Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Tuesday  that no date has been confirmed for holding the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, Russia.

However, he said that no party wants to hold the event before the New Year holidays or after it.

Peskov said the priority was to prepare for the congress properly, and to coordinate the list of participants. This will be the most difficult part, he said, according to RIA Novosti.

On November 22 President Vladimir Putin said his country, Iran, and Turkey have agreed to organize a “congress” involving Syrian government and opposition forces in an effort to end the Middle East country’s six-year civil war.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints