Syria sees deadlock broken in peace talks

Forces loyal to Syria's president Bashar al-Assad stand by as an aid convoy enters a camp, to deliver aid into the rebel-held besieged Douma neighborhood of Damascus, Syria March 4, 2016. (Reuters)

The head of the Syrian government delegation in Geneva said the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini had urged his government to engage positively in peace talks on Wednesday, and said he believed the round of talks had broken the diplomatic impasse.

Bashar Jaafari received Mogherini at his hotel in Geneva, after she arrived to make a surprise intervention in the peace talks, and told her he wanted the EU to reopen its embassies and lift sanctions on Damascus.

Jaafari has said his team would return for a second round of talks in Geneva, but he said he had told UN mediator Staffan de Mistura they could not come back before Syrian elections on April 13.

Meanwhile, the UN Syria special envoy is finalizing a document for delegates at peace talks that will synthesize common points of convergence, but is likely to stay clear of the divisive issue of political transition, activists and diplomats said.

With a fragile truce in place in Syria, warring sides are more than a week into talks on ending the conflict, but government officials have rejected any discussion on a political transition or the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, who opposition leaders say must go as part of any such plan.

The five-year-old conflict between the government and insurgents has killed more than 250,000 people, allowed ISIS to take control of some eastern areas and caused the world’s worst refugee crisis.

The UN envoy said on Tuesday that he aimed to establish if there were any points held in common by the different parties. If successful, he would announce these on Thursday.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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