- Title: Syrian peace talks resume in Vienna as Russian meeting looms
- Date: 25th January 2018
- Summary: VIENNA, AUSTRIA (JANUARY 25, 2018) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** CONVOY OF SYRIAN OPPOSITION ARRIVING OPPOSITION CHIEF NEGOTIATOR NASR HARIRI ALIGHTING FROM CAR AND SHAKING HANDS WITH U.N. OFFICIAL / HARIRI WALKING PAST REPORTERS SECURITY OFFICERS AND CARS MEMBERS OF OPPOSITION DELEGATION ARRIVING (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESPERSON FOR SYRIAN OPPOSITION DELEGATION, YAHYA AL-ARIDI, SAYING: "This, such as it was described by the U.N. Special Envoy Mr de Mistura to be a crucial one and we believe that it is and on our behalf we are committed to a free Syria, to a democratic one, to a country safe for its people to go back home." MEMBERS OF SYRIAN GOVERNMENT DELEGATION GETTING IN CAR TO LEAVE AFTER MEETING
- Embargoed: 8th February 2018 18:56
- Keywords: U.N.-brokered peace talks Syrian government opposition Russia Iran rebels U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
- Location: VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- City: VIENNA, AUSTRIA
- Country: Austria
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0027ZM1JRB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:U.N.-brokered peace talks with the Syrian government and opposition began on Thursday (January 25), a few days before separate negotiations hosted by Damascus's close ally Russia that the West views with suspicion.
The head of the Syrian government delegation, Bashar al-Ja'afari, told Reuters "the meeting was good" as he left the U.N. offices in Vienna in the afternoon after talks with U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. He declined to elaborate.
An opposition delegation arrived shortly before he left, but there was no sign the warring sides had met. The discussions ended by the early evening and were due to resume on Friday (January 26) for a second and final day.
Previous rounds of U.N.-sponsored talks have made little progress while Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran have gained significant ground since 2015, recovering swathes of the country from rebels.
Having regained the upper hand in the almost seven-year-old civil war, President Bashar al-Assad appears far from ready to negotiate with his enemies at all, let alone step down as part of any peaceful solution as rebel groups have demanded.
In eight rounds of talks before this weeks, de Mistura has not managed to coax the two sides into speaking face to face. It was only at the last round in December that the rebel opposition united in one delegation, raising modest hopes for direct talks.
Russia announced a peace congress in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi after the last meeting in December. De Mistura has acknowledged the Sochi congress but it remains unclear how he plans to address it.
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