The Syrian opposition claims the Bashar al-Assad regime delegation to the Geneva peace talks is coming up with new conditions, making it difficult to move forward.
Opposition spokesman Yahya Aridi said yesterday that the Damascus delegation told U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura they won't negotiate directly, as reported by AP. He said de Mistura told them about the government's stance.
Aridi said the opposition delegates "consider this to be a precondition." There was no immediate response from the Syrian regime team in Switzerland. The Syrian regime's delegation returned to Geneva last Sunday for the resumption of talks with de Mistura after more than a week's absence, but Western diplomats voiced skepticism about its willingness to engage. The regime delegation has protested the opposition's insistence on the absence of Assad from any future transition period.
De Mistura convened an eighth round of separate talks with the government and unified opposition delegations on Nov. 28, focusing on constitutional reform as well as elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested holding a Syrian congress in the Russian city of Sochi early in 2018.
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