Geneva: UN Syria envoy met with Russia-linked representatives
Orient Net - Agencies 2017-02-26 17:18:00
The United Nations envoy for Syria met with Syrian representatives separately in Geneva reflecting the struggle of opposition groups to form a united front in peace talks with the Assad regime.
Staffan de Mistura on Sunday met with Russia-affiliated representatives delegation dubbed the Cairo platform.
After the meeting, Jihad Makdissi, a former spokesman for the Assad regime who left Syria in 2012 said the envoy gave them papers on "how to facilitate talks" between the various opposition groups and the Assad regime.
Makdissi, at the helm of the Cairo delegation, claimed to downplay differences in the opposition saying they were "diverse" rather than "fragmented," and could agree on technical rather than political points.
"We want to be one delegation, not a unified delegation," he told reporters.
On Saturday, the Assad envoy to the UN-mediated talks, Bashar al-Ja’afari, said face-to-face talks would only be possible if there is a "unified, patriotic opposition."
Syrian opposition activists say Assad warplanes are pounding an opposition-held neighborhood in the central city of Homs, killing at least three and wounding dozens.
Sunday’s airstrikes came a day after the al-Waer neighborhood was subjected to more than 40 air raids that killed and wounded dozens.
Orient Net Obtains copy of de Mistura’s paper
Orient Net obtained an unofficial Arabic translation of the paper delivered by the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura, to the delegations of Assad regime and the Syrian opposition in Geneva. It spoke about many points, including appointing a date for intra-Syrian talks, Syrian elections, drafting a constitution for the country.
De Mistora highlighted in the paper the fact that the UN Security Council resolution No. 2254, which provided for forming a government, and a constitution based on the current talks.
The paper also pointed out that the resolution included forming a trustworthy, plural and non-sectarian government. It provides for a timetable to form a new constitution to organize free and transparent election supervised by the UN in accordance with the new constitution.
“We will discuss the three issues of administration, constitution and election separately. I would suggest forming work groups," de mistura said in the paper.
“Advancement in any of the three topics is welcomed, there will be no agreement on a single idea unless we agree on all details,” de Mistura said.
“In the current stage, we will dedicate one day to discuss each topic bilaterally. We might suggest a different work plan and a technical approach for each topic. I welcome every single idea or proposal,” de Mistora added according to the five-page document.
The paper mentioned that de Mistora was prepared to directly participate in the talks pointing out that issues of ceasefire, combating terrorism and building confidence could be discussed if any of the sides proposed.
“In the timetable of the talks, which started on Feb. 23, 2017, discussions about the transitional government, constitution, and election stage will be taking place in four separate days starting from 26 February.” the paper said in its last page.
Opposition says Assad regime aims to sabotage Geneva talks
The Assad regime is continuing its airstrikes, aiming to sabotage the ongoing negotiations in Geneva, a representative of the Syrian opposition Sunday.
Assad regime "is hitting several parts of Syria and targeting civilians. It is actually hitting the Geneva talks," Mohamed al-Shimali, a representative of Syria’s native Turkmen, told Anadolu Agency.
According to al-Shimali, the opposition will report all the Assad regime’s violations to UN Special Syria Envoy Staffan De Mistura as the Geneva talks continue.
Last month, Turkey, Russia and Iran brokered talks in the Kazakhstan capital Astana to reinforce the Syrian cease-fire introduced in the New Year, in addition to the UN-backed peace talks in Geneva.