Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Washington Wants Kurds to Join Geneva

Washington Wants Kurds to Join Geneva

Wednesday, 29 November, 2017 - 06:30
The UN's peace envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, pictured on May 5, 2015, has extended wide-ranging talks in Geneva by another month until July (AFP Photo/Fabrice Coffrini)

Arab diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that US officials proposed during their meetings in Geneva on Tuesday, the need that Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) join the intra-Syrian talks.

SDF representatives were placed away from the UN-facilitated Geneva talks due to the positions of Ankara and some Syrian opposition factions, which until now rejected the Kurdish presence at the negotiation table.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura kicked off on Tuesday talks with the delegation of the High Negotiations Committee, chaired by Nasr Hariri, pending the arrival of the regime delegation on Wednesday.

Reports said that Moscow exerted pressure on Damascus to send a delegation to the Swiss city.

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Geneva office Alexei Borodavkin said the decision by the Syrian government delegation to travel to Geneva for the eighth round of the intra-Syrian consultations was the right move.

"This will make it possible for Damascus representatives to express their point of view and come up with the relevant assessments," the diplomat said.

Borodavkin called on partners in Geneva to bring the Syrian opposition down to earth “as their position is not in line with the real situation.”

Meanwhile, Paris activated its existing initiative to launch the “contact group” that includes representatives from the UNSC five permanent members and to hold talks with regional states affecting the Syrian file.

French sources said that by proposing the contact group, Paris aims to bring the positions of the P-5 states closer together and to push forward towards “an acceptable settlement” in Syria.

Paris also plans to remove the threads of the decision-making from the hands of the Russians. Its priority is to “mobilize” Washington in the Syrian and negotiations file by referring to three principal arguments.

French sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the 3 arguments are the following: the first is to affirm that Washington cannot “leave” the Syrian file if Iran’s containment was its main priority in the region, second is to assert that a “bad and unbalanced” settlement cannot end the crisis in Syria, and finally, to convince Washington not to take quick decisions by pulling US forces from Syria, similar to what happened in Iraq.

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