Published: Sat, July 15, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

United Nations sees direct Syria talks soon but not pushing for it

United Nations sees direct Syria talks soon but not pushing for it

De Mistura wants to merge the three opposition camps before pushing for direct talks between the government and a unified opposition delegation.

Arriving here in Geneva earlier this week, Xie held meetings with the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, both the Syrian government and opposition delegations as well as senior diplomats from other regional and global powers.

Alluding to foreign backers of the main Syrian opposition group, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as well as those who support smaller factions, Ja'afari said that "the most important thing is for us to have a national partner, and not a client for foreign agendas".

He did not expect the opposition High Negotiations Committee (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.

But asked if it could happen before the next round of Geneva negotiations, slated for late August, de Mistura told reporters: "Perhaps even earlier".

"I'm not pushing for it".

After hosting the seventh round of Syrian peace talks, the United Nations envoy for Syria say he has seen no sign that the government of President Bashar Assad has given any ground on possible political transition.

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Answering a question by SANA's delegate on exerting pressure on the countries which are involved in supporting terrorism in Syria to stop funding it, de Mistura said "We are in touch with every single country related to Syria at the moment and we are constantly in touch with them and they are aware of those important resolutions of the Security Council on financing, arming and supporting terrorism".

Government delegation chief says direct meeting with opposition was not raised with his team at Geneva talks. They do not control territory on the ground or have strong links with armed groups engaged in the war, according to Reuters.

The U.N. Syria envoy says he plans to convene in September an eighth round of indirect peace talks between President Bashar Assad's government and opposition leaders.

The latest round of ceasefire came after a ceasefire in southern Syria brokered last week by the U.S. and Russian Federation, which provides a relatively better atmosphere for negotiations.

The Syrian government's top envoy to the United Nations -mediated peace talks in Geneva says his team has not been asked to meet face-to-face with the opposition.

De Mistura also noted progress through worldwide diplomacy, such as a temporary truce in parts of southern Syria that was brokered by Jordan, Russia and the United States.

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