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Geneva talks postponed until opposition participates, forms as one group

Peace talks between Geneva and Damascus has been suspended until February 20.

(UN) envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura requests for temporary halt on Geneva talks
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Peace talks between Geneva and Damascus have been suspended until February 20, according to United Nations (UN) envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Mr. de Mistura confirmed the said suspension, and formally asked the council to deliberate with the talks on Syria until the members of the country’s opposition participate as a unit.

“I did ask… the Security Council and based also on the discussions I had with the SG (Antonio Guterres) to postpone the talks until the 20th,” he added.

Invitations for the resumption of talks will be sent on February 8, which was earlier announced as the restart of the peace talks among its members.

The aforementioned date was put off by the United Nations via de Mistura to give time to implement the agreement discussed at the Astana meeting about the ceasefire in Syria.

The latest suspension, however, should give the Syrian opposition enough time to prepare and form a unified delegation. Otherwise, de Mistura warned, he would have to decide on a representative at the reconciliation talks in Geneva.

“This time if by 8th of February the opposition will not be ready to come up with a unified group I will have to… apply what I have not yet applied which is a prerogative that (the UN Security Council Resolution) 2254 gave to the special envoy to actually select the delegation in order to make sure that it can be as inclusive as possible,” the UN envoy conveyed.

This statement then followed a reaction from the Syrian members and expressed their contention that was immediately posted on Twitter:

“Nobody has a right to appoint people that will hold negotiations on behalf of Syrians. The Special Envoy must stick to his powers and apologize to the Syrian people for his statement”

The last round for peace talks in Geneva was held last April 13 through 27 of 2016, and was suspended many times since then.

Breaking news from global agencies and outlets by GEOPOLMonitor's team of writers.

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