De Mistura: Geneva talks to follow agenda set by UN resolution

2017-02-15 17:05:00

The UN envoy to Syria says negotiating a political transition for the country will be the sole item on the agenda for upcoming talks between the Assad regime and opposition in Geneva.

Staffan De Mistura emphatically rejected any change to the agenda, saying it would open a "Pandora’s box" of stalling and time-wasting.

"Geneva will not be about the procedure, but about the future," he told reporters in joint press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, in Rome.

The envoy said the agenda is fixed in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which mandates a new form of governance for Syria, a new constitution, and new elections. The resolution was adopted unanimously by the Security Council in 2015.

Assad regime has previously rejected such formulations, complicating efforts aimed at ending the conflict. 

The envoy urged the opposition to present a unified front at Geneva, in order to deprive the Assad regime of the "alibi" that it doesn’t know who the opposition is.

The Geneva talks, slated for Feb. 23, are expected to bring together representatives from Assad regime with opposition figures and opposition fighting inside Syria.

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