Muallem: Opposition didn’t take the talks seriously

Muallem: Opposition didn’t take the talks seriously
Fri Jan 31, 2014 20:20:05

Syrian foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says a week of talks with Syrian opposition with UN mediation has failed to achieve tangible results because of opposition’s "lack of maturity and seriousness".

"I regret to tell you that we have not reached tangible results during this week," he told reporters after the closed-door negotiations wrapped up in Geneva.

Muallem blamed a "lack of maturity and seriousness" on the part of the rival delegation, which he said sought to "implode" the peace negotiations.

"They acted as if we had wanted to come here for one hour and hand over everything to them. It's indicative of the illusions that they are living under," he said.

During the talks th official delegation of the Syrian government proposed a draft communiqué on combating terrorism, but it was rejected by the opposition.

Muallem spoke after UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said he aimed to bring the two sides back to the table for a new round of talks from February 10th.

Brahimi had told reporters that the government delegation had informed him that it wanted time to consult with Damascus first.

Muallem said President Bashar al-Assad and his government would first read the delegation's report on the recent talks, then make a decision on the next step with the negotiators returning if the public demanded it.

"We represent the concerns and the interests of our people," Muallem insisted.

"We are a country. We have our government, our institutions. We are willing to discuss, but for that we have to know the identity of the other side: are they Syrians or are they not?"

The Geneva II talks, which kicked off in the Swiss town of Montreux on January 22, mark the first meeting between Syria’s warring sides since the country was gripped by crisis nearly three years ago.


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