United Nations food agency gains new access to Syria's Raqqa

16 July, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Ora Austin
  • UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Syria Staffan de Mistura first at right attends a new round of negotiation with Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations and head of the government delegation Bashar al-Ja'afari second at left during the In

The U.N. envoy on Syria says the seventh round of talks aimed at helping end the country's six-year-old war wrapped up Friday, and they featured "no breakthrough, no breakdown, no one walking out, incremental progress".

The main opposition High Negotiations Committee says political transition means the departure of President Bashar Al Assad.

De Mistura said he has not seen any indication that the government is willing to talk about forming a new government in Syria but voiced hope that global pressure could move the needle.

Envoy Staffan de Mistura says the Syrian government has not budged in its unwillingness to discuss political transition at the talks in Geneva while President Bashar Assad's representatives have pursued an nearly incessant theme of the fight against terrorism.

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Friday the Syrian government has not budged in its unwillingness to discuss political transition at the talks in Geneva while President Bashar al-Assad's representatives have pursued an nearly incessant theme of the fight against "terrorism".

He did not expect HNC to unite with two other dissident groupings, the "Moscow" and "Cairo" platforms, in time for direct talks with Syria's government during this round.

Saying Assad's envoys claim to be the only ones talking about the fight against "terrorist groups", de Mistura said no side should have "ownership" of that issue.

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Referring to the September round of talks, de Mistura said, "We will see whether by that time the global momentum. may be able to actually push all sides to finally sit in the same room and start talking about substance".

The three opposition groupings have recently held technical talks, aligning their positions to the extent that they might be able to field a single delegation, if not a united one.

"At present, there are still big differences between and among the Syrian government and the oppositions, so a step-by-step approach should be taken to handle the relatively easier problems first so as to forge more consensus and accumulate mutual trust", he said.

The government and HNC traded familiar soundbites before leaving the Swiss city on Friday.

It is hoped that the government and the opposition representation will return to Geneva for the eighth round in August, in a process sponsored by the United Nations with priorities such as elections, the new Constitution, inclusive governance and the struggle against terrorism on the agenda.

De Mistura praised a new initiative by French President Emmanuel Macron to create a so-called "contact group", including permanent Security Council members and regional powers, like rebel-backer Turkey and government supporter Iran.

When asked if he has seen any sign that the government of Assad has given any ground on a possible political transition, he said, "no, I don't have any indication".

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