Syrian opposition accepts United Nations principles at end of peace talks

Posted March 06, 2017

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

Syria's warring sides agreed to a future round of negotiations at the end of a fourth set of talks in Geneva, a mild breakthrough after a week's worth of stalled discussions and a steadily failing ceasefire.

We declared ourselves in favor of an inclusive dialogue with the participation of all groups, including those in the opposition that are ready to take action for a political solution, the Russian diplomat said.

The UN special envoy reiterated that the negotiations should facilitate humanitarian access to the Arab country, adding that he would travel to NY in the next few days to brief UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the outcome of the talks, dubbed Geneva 4.

Syria peace talks have ended with a clear agenda to pursue a political solution to the six-year-long conflict.

But he held up a photograph of the opening ceremony of the talks last Thursday, when both sides gathered in the same room, albeit only to hear a welcome address by de Mistura. The opposition said that the question of political transition was seriously addressed for the first time, while United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura said counter-terrorism - an issue pushed by President Bashar al-Assad's delegation - had been added to the agenda.

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It was not immediately clear whether the issue of fighting terrorism would be part of the terms, as sought by the Damascus delegation led by Syrian Ambassador Bashar al-Ja'afari.

The HNC said the priority should be a political transition that excludes sitting president Bashar Al-Assad-a request that other opposition groups call unrealistic.

Nasr al-Hariri, the opposition's negotiator in Geneva, said despite an apparent lack of concrete results, for the first time the discussions covered issues relating to political transition in Syria in acceptable depth.

Under UN Security Council Resolution 2254 they should be framed in three "baskets" or areas of discussion: governance, constitution and elections.

Since the last round of talks in Geneva, the Syrian opposition lost control of the strategic city of Aleppo. A shaky ceasefire has been in place since December and separate talks in Kazakhstan, sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran, are dealing with military matters.