1. UN eyes positive role of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in upcoming talks

UN eyes positive role of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in upcoming talks

UN Deputy Special Envoy to Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy said in Damascus on Saturday that the United Nations expects a positive role from the Syrian government in the upcoming intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

By: | New Delhi | Published: May 14, 2017 5:27 AM
Ramzy says he heard that the Syrian stance will be constructive during the fresh round of talks that will be held in Geneva on May 16. (Reuters)

UN Deputy Special Envoy to Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy said in Damascus on Saturday that the United Nations expects a positive role from the Syrian government in the upcoming intra-Syrian talks in Geneva. In a press briefing in Damascus following his meeting with foreign ministry officials, Ramzy said he heard that the Syrian stance will be constructive during the fresh round of talks that will be held in Geneva on May 16, Xinhua reported.

“We are looking forward to a positive contribution from the Syrian government to make the Geneva conference a success and what I heard today from the Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad gave me hope that the Syrian stance will be constructive during the next meeting,” he told reporters.

On the relation between the Geneva talks and the Syrian talks in Astana, Ramzi said the relation is reciprocal, noting that the Astana talks cannot be a standalone without the political talks in Geneva, as the Astana talks are merely talks between the rebel factions and the government representative, while the Geneva talks have a wider representation of the political opposition groups.

“There is a reciprocal relationship between Astana meeting and Geneva meeting and enforcing the cease-fire is something fundamental and important for creating the suitable climates for serious talks and at the same time the cease-fire could never have continuity without political prospects and this is a very important issue,” he noted.

It’s worth mentioning that previous talks in Geneva have failed to bring about any political solution to the long-running conflict.

But when the Russian sponsored the talks in Astana between the rebels and the government, a cease-fire went into force and a new deal was reached for the establishment of “de-escalation zones,” which are basically safe zones that will be created in several Syrian areas where battles should be non-existent.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recently downplayed any significance of the Geneva conference, saying it’s a “media meeting and there has been nothing real in all previous talks,” as “it’s a process that aimed for us to give concessions.”

“I will not give any concession, for a simple reason, which is that I don’t own the country and any concession on the national level cannot be made by the president because it needs a national decision,” he said.

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