US Acting Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield arrives in Geneva on Monday to participate in the meeting of top foreign minister aids of the UNSC five permanent members with a hope to offer a push for the eighth round of the UN-brokered talks on Syria on Nov. 28, held between a delegation from the Syrian government and the unified opposition delegation that was established two days ago in Riyadh.
Following a scheduled meeting with a delegation from the High Negotiations Committee headed by Nasr Hariri and his vice president Jamal Suleiman in Geneva on Monday, Satterfield will later participate in the meeting of top officials from the foreign ministries of the P-5 following an invitation from Paris, that seeks to form a “contact group” from the five permanent countries and minority states effective in the Syrian file.
The US noted the role of Saudi Arabia and the organizers of the Second Syrian Opposition Conference in Riyadh, calling the formation of the unified delegation of the Geneva talks a positive step.
Washington also congratulated the new negotiating committee and its general coordinator, Nasr Hariri, preparing to begin discussions that could eventually lead to a political solution to the conflict.
"The United States has learned of the successful conclusion of the second Riyadh conference of the Syrian opposition and the conference has worked to bring together a variety of groups to form a unified delegation that can engage in substantive negotiations in the next round of UN-sponsored talks in Geneva," US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
Separately, former president of the Syrian National Coalition Anas al-Abda asserted on Sunday that Russia tried through the Astana meetings to open a political path parallel, and maybe, opposed to Geneva.
“However, the opposition delegation refused such path,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat from Riyadh.
Al-Abda added that according to the Syrian opposition, the Geneva talks would remain the main and unique platform for negotiations.
Meanwhile, Syria’s state news agency SANA quoted an official source at the Foreign Ministry as saying that the Syrian government welcomes the National Dialogue Congress, affirming that the government will attend it.
The source added that the government also welcomes the results of the Congress which include a committee for discussing the current constitution and holding legislative elections afterwards with the involvement of the United Nations and based on the UN Charter which stipulates for respecting the sovereignty of states and peoples’ right to self-determination.
At the battlefield, 25 civilians were killed by air and ground assaults launched by regime forces at the Eastern Ghouta of Damascus on Sunday.
An activist in Eastern Ghouta, Abdulmalak Abboud told Asharq Al-Awsat that the escalatory shooting targeted an orphanage in the town of Misrab.