Head of the Syrian regime delegation Bashar al-Jaafari arrived in Geneva on Wednesday to attend the new round of intra-Syrian talks - under pressure from Russia - but he informed UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura that he refused to hold direct talks with the High Negotiation Committee delegation, diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Jaafari also presented to de Mistura a number of conditions to resuming any talks between the two sides.
The head of the Syrian regime delegation said that the regime refuses to engage in any direct talks with the opposition delegation and that the HNC must drop its demand that Bashar Assad leaves during the transitional phase in Syria.
The opposition delegation “wants more pressure on the regime to engage in the negotiation and continue in the negotiation to reach a political solution in six months, as (UN Security Council Resolution) 2254 says,” Reuters quoted Head of the HNC Nasr Hariri as saying.
“Just speaking about a political transition without any advancement, we will lose our trust in the process and our people will lose their trust in us and in the process itself,” he added.
The Syrian opposition delegation in Geneva said things were “positive,” now that the opposition is united.
Yahya Aridi, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Commission told Asharq Al-Awsat that the regime was currently left with no other choice than to accept the political operation and to get seriously involved in it, adding that Damascus “is totally convinced that the military and security solutions it followed, have proved to be a big failure.”
Meanwhile, Russian ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya accused the US-led coalition of trying to partition Syria by setting up local governing bodies in areas seized from ISIS.
Speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council Wednesday, Nebenzya complained that the coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters that recently liberated Raqqa from ISIS was discussing setting up governing bodies and restoring the economy without the involvement of Russia's ally, the Syrian regime.