Russia Expects Success in the Geneva Talks on Syria

The main opposition High Negotiating Committee (HNC) said the latest Geneva talks were "more positive" than previous rounds.

03 de marzo de 2017, 17:43Moscow, Mar 3 (Prensa Latina) Russia expects success in the negotiations about Syria in Geneva, to which we never challenged our efforts for a dialogue between the Syrian conflicting sides in Astana, Russian Foreign Vice Minister Serguei Riabkov stated today. That means that the situation in the field improved considerably, he said.

This was particularly symbolic since the last time parties met under the auspices of the United Nations was in April 2016, a month which saw negotiations put on hold amid a humanitarian meltdown and systemic violence in the Middle East country.

He said all parties understood they were working toward implementation of a UN Security Council framework that sets out a "clear timetable" to draft a new constitution for Syria within 12 months and for free and fair elections to be held within 18 months.

Indeed, this final item relates to counter-terrorism issues, and its inclusion on the agenda can be seen as a win for the Syrian government delegation, which has sought to make this controversial topic a priority in the past.

But as in previous talks the focus was nearly exclusively on the agenda.

Since the last round of talks in Geneva, the Syrian opposition lost control of the strategic city of Aleppo.

This appears to be a victory for the Syrian government, which has been lobbying to put "terrorism" on the programme.

He noted that Damascus placed emphasis on terrorism and the opposition on a political transition.

This round of the UN-brokered negotiations - the first since last April - came shortly after the conclusion of the second round of the Syria peace talks, facilitated by Russia, Turkey and Iran, in the Kazakh capital Astana on February 15 and 16.

"The worldwide silence must come to an end".

While this may be true, they also serve as a tacit reminder that the U.S.' role in Syria is no longer as relevant as it was in the past.

"It just needs an accelerator", said the UN's Staffan de Mistura.

The scope of the negotiation is much narrower than a year ago, when de Mistura also had to hear demands for a ceasefire and release of prisoners.