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Syrian Regime’s Preconditions Threaten Geneva Talks

Syrian Regime’s Preconditions Threaten Geneva Talks

Tuesday, 28 November, 2017 - 06:45
Staffan de Mistura, UN special envoy for Syria, briefs the Security Council, via video conference. (UN)

Mystery surrounded on Monday the participation of the Syrian regime delegation in the fresh intra-Syrian talks expected to kick off in Geneva on Tuesday.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told a Security Council meeting in New York via video link from Geneva that the regime has not yet confirmed its participation in the new round of the UN-facilitated Geneva talks.

"Assuming that both parties arrive in Geneva, we will be looking to move them into beginning serious discussions and hopefully negotiations. Let me make one thing clear: we will not accept any preconditions from either party,” he added.

Arab sources said on Monday that the regime delegation had objected the Second Syrian Opposition Conference in Riyadh, which expressed the opposition’s readiness to discuss all issues in Geneva “without any preconditions.”

The sources added that any delay in the arrival of the regime delegation might threaten the Geneva operation.

Meanwhile, the US Defense Department said on Monday it is reviewing the process it uses to provide equipment and weapons to Kurdish fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), but it has not halted sending weapons.

“The department is reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning told reporters.

The announcement came as Turkey’s Defense Minister Nurettin Cankili said on Monday that a military raid is imminent on Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) members in Syria’s northern city of Afrin, next Wednesday or Thursday.

Moscow also announced on Monday the possibility of imposing a temporary ceasefire in the "de-escalation" zone in Syria's eastern Ghouta on November 28 and 29.

Russia also postponed the Syrian National Dialogue Conference planned in the city of Sochi.

"Preparations for the congress are currently underway. It will not be held until January, but most likely in February," Russian news agency RIA Novosti said citing a diplomatic source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

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