Syria – Conflict

Syrian Opposition Puts off Decision on Syria Peace Talks

Syrian Opposition Puts off Decision on Syria Peace Talks
Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:59:07

A major Syrian opposition group Wednesday postponed a decision on joining peace talks in Switzerland, as wrangling over who will go threatened to derail the biggest push yet to resolve the war, AFP reported.

The Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee — formed last month in an effort to unite Syria’s fractious political and armed opposition — met in Riyadh for a second day on whether to accept a UN invitation to the Geneva talks.

Salem al-Meslet, a Committee spokesman, said the group could not make a decision until it has received a response from UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.

The Committee insists it must be the sole opposition delegation at the talks and wants “clarifications” after the United Nations issued invitations to other regime opponents.

“Whether we say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depends on the reply of De Mistura,” Meslet told AFP and Al-Arabiya television.

But he added there was a “positive” atmosphere at the Riyadh meeting.

Meslet said the Committee also needed clarification that the international community would address humanitarian issues.

The Geneva negotiations had already been delayed from Monday over the issue of who will represent the myriad forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s nearly five-year civil war.

Instead of meeting face-to-face, Geneva delegations are expected to engage in indirect negotiations.

Officials have said the talks, only the second intra-Syrian dialogue since the start of the conflict, would run over six months, with the first round expected to last between two and three weeks.

S/SH

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