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

Regime Plunges Geneva Talks Into Formalities

Regime Plunges Geneva Talks Into Formalities

Saturday, 2 December, 2017 - 07:00
Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria, briefs the Security Council, via video conference. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

Head of the regime delegation Bashar al-Jaafari plunged on Friday the Geneva Syrian talks into formalities and details to escape from discussing the main issues related to the principles of a political solution in Syria or from talking the two files of the Constitution and elections.

The regime delegation leaves Geneva on Saturday to Damascus without confirming whether it would return to the second stage of the eighth round of talks, expected to kick off next Tuesday.

On Thursday, UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura said that the talks would stop on Saturday for three days and will be resumed from next Tuesday till mid-December.

After meeting with the UN envoy, and in his first comments to reporters since he arrived to Geneva this week, al-Jaafari accused de Mistura of ignoring the basic paper submitted by the Syrian government and trying to impose a new document for discussion in that round of the talks.

On Friday, Asharq Al-Awsat published the content of the 12-point Living Intra-Syrian Essential Principles paper handed by de Mistura to both the opposition and regime delegation and which includes his concept for the future of Syria.

However, al-Jaafari said Damascus sees this as a violation by de Mistura as a mediator. He said the UN envoy should response first to a paper submitted by the Syrian government in the spring of 2016, before discussing the items of the current round of talks.

At the battlefield, opposition factions shot down Friday a Syrian regime helicopter, killing all its crew in a region between Damascus and the Lebanese border.

The region, near the occupied Golan Heights, witness frequent clashes between Assad regime forces and opposition fighters.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, three officers were killed in the helicopter that was shot down by a guided missile.

“Smoke was seen where the helicopter fell in the south-west of the Damascus countryside,” the Observatory said.

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