UN launches latest round of Syria talks in Geneva

UN launches latest round of Syria talks in Geneva
2 min read
06 May, 2015
UN envoy says talks are open-ended, while exiled opposition group the SNC says it will send a delegation to discuss moves toward a political settlement.
De Mistura hopes the talks will find a political solution to the conflict [AFP]

Staffan De Mistura, the UN envoy to Syria, says he has officially launched the Geneva-based talks on Syria.

De Mistura announced in a news conference on Tuesday there was "no deadline for the consultations, which could last weeks".

The UN has invited more than 40 Syrian opposition groups to take part, as well as representatives from the Syrian regime and Syria's neighbouring states.

The aim is to find a political solution to the conflict and stop the rising number of casualties, even though chances of doing so are slim.

     The UN has invited more than 40 Syrian opposition groups to take part.

The Syrian National Coalition's president, Khaled Khoja, told the UN that 12 coalition delegates would attend the talks between 12-14 May, according to Syrian opposition sources.

The coalition would meet from 8-10 May to select its representatives, the sources added.

"The delegation will include representatives from all the coalition's political entities. Riad Seif and Michel Kilo, have also been invited to attend by De Mistura's team," the source added.

Nagham al-Ghadri, the coalition's vice president, said the it would present basic principles for a political settlement that had been approved by the general committee and opposition parties.

Ghadir said the coalition would not accept Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's participation in the transitional phase.

According to a coalition source: "Information leaked about the talks shows the Syria regime's envoy aims to embarrass the opposition and expose its lack of vision, hoping it will lessen its demands and be more inclined to accept local truces."

By inviting 40 groups from the opposition De Mistura has shown how divided it is, and that it lacks proper representation.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.