UN Syria envoy says talks have set agenda for progress on peace

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and head of the Syrian government delegation┘ł Bashar al-Ja'afari, attend a meeting of intra Syria peace talks at the Palais des Nations in Geneva Switzerland

The Syrian regime has tried to get counter-terrorism onto the agenda, while the opposition wants more focus on political transition, specifically the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.

The main opposition High Negotiating Committee (HNC) said the latest Geneva talks were "more positive" than previous rounds. He joked about Trump breaking up with the media - "KICK".

Syrian government negotiator Bashar al-Ja'afari accused the Saudi-backed opposition on Thursday of holding peace talks hostage due to their reported refusal to unify under one opposition delegation and include terrorism on agenda.

De Mistura said the efforts on these two fronts were complementary, with cease-fires leading to productive talks and productive talks in turn helping maintain cease-fires.

"It was first time we discussed in an acceptable depth the issues of the future of Syria and political transition", he added after the talks, the fourth mediated by United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura. Staff exited the dayroom "when it became clear it was unsafe", and secured the door leading to the rest of the housing unit.

"We believe there was progress made this round towards the base or the need for a base of a single opposition delegation to participate in negotiations with the government of Syria", he said.

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As an anti-corruption ombudsman, the Upa Lokayukta will receive complaints from people against civic officials and corporators. "We are really working hand in hand but there are two hands". The three opposition delegations also held separate meetings with the United Nations envoy.

The terrorism point, said Jaafari, was included in the agenda "upon our request with the exception of the Riyadh group".

Despite periodic displays of division, Western diplomats and analysts who had come to shepherd the opposition through the tricky process credited the motley crew of political dissidents and military commanders for holding their ground.

For the past six years, Syria has been fighting terrorism. In reference to what is called Geneva four, it is a political process that as a result of the resolution 2254 by the UN Security Council should become a Syrian solution to the problem in that country, Riabkov asserted.

Late on Thursday, Russian diplomats met representatives of Syrian armed groups, diplomats and opposition sources said, the second such contact in the past few days.

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