Opposition pushes Russian Federation to get Syria deal in six months

Dec 01, 2017, 01:42
Opposition pushes Russian Federation to get Syria deal in six months

Negotiations in Geneva aimed at ending Syria's devastating civil war have started in a "professional and serious" atmosphere and will be extended another two weeks, the United Nations mediator said Thursday.

Being asked about the atmosphere in the meeting, the UN Envoy said that the atmosphere in the meeting was "constructive and professional".

In seven past rounds on his watch the envoy has not managed to get representatives of Syria's warring sides to sit at the same table, instead of shuttling back and forth between delegations.

Syria's civil war is now in its seventh year and previous rounds of negotiations made virtually no progress, with no direct contact between the opposing delegations, who took turns to meet United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura.

"We decided that we should continue having this meeting in the UN Headquarters in Geneva, this will be the first official meeting that we will be holding with the delegation of the Syrian government, and then we will continue tomorrow as well", he said.

Following a meeting with Head of the Syria government delegation Ambassador Bashaar Ja'afari in a hotel in Geneva, who arrived in Geneva on Wednesday, de Mistura told reporters that "I just had a long, but very useful in my opinion, meeting with the delegation of the government of Syria". The talks were originally planned to last 4-5 days, but de Mistura now planned to extend them until December 15, Hariri said, adding that his team had come hoping for direct talks with the government delegation for the first time. The talks are meant to cover four major issues: elections, governance, the constitution and fighting terrorism.

The UN mediator also mentioned an unspecified "12 points" in the works that could lead to a "shared vision of what Syria could look like" after more than six years of war.

He warned "many of them will die" if they do not receive immediate medical care, pointing out that nine people previously on the UN's list of civilians in urgent need of evacuation had already perished.