UN-led Syria peace talks rescheduled until Friday

RSTV Bureau
Photo courtesy: UN

Photo courtesy: UN

Even as the UN-led Syria peace talks are rescheduled to begin on Friday, Russia has objected to the exclusion of members of Syrian Opposition in the talks. Russia alleged that the exclusion of some Syrian Opposition members in the talks was a gross violation of international law.

On Tuesday, Russia also remained adamant on its stand and reiterated that their military intervention have altered the ground situation in the war-torn country.

“The military actions of Russia’s air force in response to the request of the Syrian government have drastically altered the situation in the country and have helped to narrow the area controlled by terrorists,” said Sergu Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister.

Even as Russia made its stand clear, US Secretary of State John Kerry rubbished all reports that he threatened to stop US’ support to the Syrian Opposition if they did not turn up for the talks. His comments came in the wake of the Syrian Opposition expressing pessimism about the peace talks. It is being reported that Kerry clarified that the US will support the Opposition “politically, financially, and militarily”.

Meanwhile the UN is preparing a fresh push to restart the postponed Syria peace talks.

“The first priority will be the focus of the talks, of what most Syrians, if not all, want to hear, the possibility of broad ceasefire, and the possibility of stopping the threat of ISIL, and therefore, thanks to a broader ceasefire, an increase in humanitarian aid,” said Staffan de Mistura, UN mediator in the Syrian conflict.

The Geneva Communique is set to be the guideline for the talks. The Communique which drew a road map for power transition in Syria, was issued after a UN-backed conference on Syria was held on June 30th 2012.

“Everything is starting with the Geneva Communique, what we have on 2254 (resolution) which lays down very clearly three areas: government, new constitution, and new elections. And UN supervision is a further refinement and more precise of what could be the umbrella of the Geneva Communique,” added Staffan de Mistura.

UN is said to have finalised the list of delegates for the peace talks on behalf of the Syrian government and the Opposition. However, the Head of Syrian Opposition is not optimistic about the upcoming talks and it still remains uncertain if he will attend Friday’s meeting in Geneva.

“We do not accept pressure or give up under it, and therefore, I do not think John Kerry is exercising such pressures on the Syrian Revolution or negotiators, because he knows full well that no one can impose or dictate the conditions to us,” said Brigadier Assad al-Zoubi, the head of Syrian Opposition delegation.

The Syria peace talks were set to begin on Monday but they got delayed because there was no consensus on who all should represent the Opposition in the meet.

Meanwhile the situation on the ground in the war-torn country remained grim. At least 22 people were killed in a twin bomb attack in the Syrian government-controlled city of Homs.

(With inputs from agencies)