Syria opposition cancels Tuesday meeting with UN envoy

AFP , Tuesday 2 Feb 2016

Syria's main opposition group said Tuesday that it will not attend a planned afternoon meeting with the UN special envoy, adding further doubts about the prospects for peace talks in Switzerland.

"There is no meeting with (Staffan) de Mistura," said Farah Atassi, member of the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee (HNC).

"We presented the demands that we wanted to demand. At this moment, there is no reason to repeat ourselves with de Mistura," she told reporters outside of the UN headquarters in Geneva.

United Nations spokeswoman Khawla Mattar also confirmed that there would be "no other meetings today" with de Mistura, who met with the Syrian government delegation Tuesday morning.

The afternoon gathering was to be the opposition delegation's second meeting with the Swedish-Italian diplomat at the UN headquarters.

The announcement followed comments from the government's chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari that formal indirect peace talks had not yet begun.

De Mistura had said Monday that his first official meeting with the HNC meant that the negotiations were indeed under way.

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