UN Syria envoy notes progress towards single opposition delegation

UN Syria envoy notes progress towards single opposition delegation

"The train is ready, it's in the station, it's warming up its engine", he said.

Recent peace talks in February between the Syrian government and the opposition ended on Friday in Geneva.

He said counter-terrorism had been added as a "fourth basket" to the talks, alongside efforts to establish a "credible, inclusive government", drafting a new constitution and holding free and fair elections.

He referred to the paper of "the basic principles for the political solution to the crisis in Syria" which the Syrian government delegation handed over to the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at the previous session of talks.

"The worldwide community must speak out.to put an end to the ongoing massacres that have been taking place in Syria for six years now", said al-Hariri.

For the time being, it is obvious that Syria's fate is in the hands of the two sides at the negotiation table.

Leading Syrian government negotiator at the Geneva talks Bashar Al Jaafari conceded that no breakthrough was reached during the recent peace negotiations and that "the only thing" achieved at the end of the 10 days of talks was an agreement on the agenda for the next round of talks between Damascus and the Syrian Higher Negotiating Committee, the main opposition umbrella.

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The talks, that included a delegation representing the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad and three opposition groups, were the first to be held in more than a year.

Chief opposition negotiator Nasr al-Hariri said, "Although we are closing this round without clear results".

The additional basket, said de Mistura, "addresses within the context of the overall transitional political process, issues related to strategies of counterterrorism, security governance and also medium-term confidence building measures".

He warned that there are people in Syria and outside who still believe there is a military option or a military solution.

Since the last round of talks in Geneva, the Syrian opposition lost control of the strategic city of Aleppo.

Moscow, he said, was "very active" in backing the United Nations peace process and Ankara and Tehran were also supportive.

Another separate round of talks in Kazakhstan, sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran, and dealing with military issues, is also expected to go ahead later this month.

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