’Golden opportunity’ missed on intra-Syrian talks: UN envoy

Orient Net 2017-12-15 11:24:00

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The eighth and latest round of peace talks ended in Geneva with little more than hope for a new round in January. Despite a series of attempts by the UN to mediate the peace process, little has been achieved between Assad regime and Syrian opposition.

A “golden opportunity” has been missed to decide the future of Syria at the end of the latest round of United Nations-supported talks in Geneva, but there may be more talks next month if ideas can be found to encourage Assad’s regime to engage, UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said.

He said neither side had actually "sabotaged" the latest talks by refusing to attend, but he laid most of the blame for the failure of the round at the feet of regime side.

De Mistura voiced milder disappointment with the Syrian opposition, after they arrived in Geneva ruling out any future role for Assad. But he said that tough public stance had been tempered by a mature position in the closed-door discussions.

De Mistura’s remarks come a day after he urged Putin to "convince" Assad’s regime to accept a political solution or risk the "fragmentation of Syria."

Bashar Ja’afari, regime’s chief negotiator, criticized de Mistura’s comments about Putin, saying it undermined the prospect of advancing peace talks.

But de Mistura remained optimistic that a political solution could only be secured through a UN-brokered process.

"We will never give up because there is simply no other solution than real negotiations with no preconditions, a clear political process and UN-supervised election," de Mistura said.

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