Last Update 11:2
Monday, 23 September 2019

Sochi meeting hangs over last day of Syrian peace talks

Reuters , Friday 26 Jan 2018
Syria talks
UN envoy Staffan de Mistura and Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari and delegate members are pictured ahead the start of talks on Syria in Vienna on January 25, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 2398
Views: 2398

The Syrian opposition may decide on Friday whether to attend peace negotiations next week hosted by Damascus's close ally, Russia, an opposition spokesman said.

His comments came as negotiators settled in for a long, final day at separate U.N.-mediated talks in Vienna aimed at ending Syria's civil war, in which hundreds of thousands have died and 11 million have been driven from their homes.

The U.N.-brokered talks - of which this is the ninth round - have made little progress so far.

Having regained the upper hand on the battlefield after nearly seven years of conflict, President Bashar al-Assad appears unwilling to negotiate with his enemies at all, let alone step down as part of any peaceful solution as rebel groups have demanded.

Arriving at the U.N. offices in Vienna on Friday morning, the talks' host, U.N. Special Envoy forSyria Staffan de Mistura, told reporters he expected "a long meeting".

With a breakthrough unlikely, a question at the centre of Friday's discussions was whether the opposition will attend a Syria peace conference next week in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi, which Moscow announced after the last round of U.N. talks in December.

Western powers and some Arab states believe Sochi is an attempt to create a parallel political track that would undermine the United Nations and lay groundwork for a solution more suitable to the Damascus government and its allies.

"We will tell you today, hopefully," opposition spokesman Yahya Aridi told reporters as his delegation arrived, when asked if the opposition would attend Sochi.

The warring sides have not spoken face to face -- a Syrian government delegation was due to meet De Mistura in the afternoon. De Mistura was expected to make a statement at the end of the talks.

Neither side has commented on the content of this week's closed-door talks.

Previous rounds have taken place sporadically in Geneva, with a mandate to discuss new elections, reformed governance, a new constitution and the fight against terrorism.

At the last round in December, the Syrian government delegation objected to the opposition's tough line on the future of Assad, and those talks achieved nothing.

Syrian government forces are pursuing offensives against two remaining rebel pockets, Idlib in the northwest and eastern Ghouta near Damascus. Turkey has poured troops into the north to fight Kurdish militias that have established regional autonomy and are seen by Ankara as a menace to its security.


Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.