The United Nations Special Envoy confirms that "the letters" of official invitation have been sent and delegations "will arrive around February 20". Behind the further delay the need to provide more time to the opposition to prepare for meetings. Tomorrow in Astana a new meeting between emissaries of Assad and rebel leaders.
Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The beginning of the UN peace talks on Syria, scheduled at first on 20 February in Geneva (Switzerland), is now fixed for the 23 of the month.
Officials speaking on behalf of United Nations Special Envoy Staffan de Misturareported yesterday that the official invitation letters have been sent and "delegations will arrive around February 20". In a note Yara Sharif, a spokesman for de Mistura, said that "the formal start of negotiations is scheduled for February 23".
Late last month, during a public meeting in New York, the UN special envoy to Syria had already announced a first delay of the talks, the beginning of which was scheduled for February 8. Behind the postponement, the need to ensure Syrian opposition more time to prepare for the meetings in Geneva.
On February 12, the main movement opposed to President Bashar al-Assad announced the 21 names of the delegation, invited to sit at the negotiating table with the representatives of the Syrian government and the UN mediators.
In the past "indirect" talks between the two sides were held in the Swiss city. These meetings produced general statements of intent and the announcements of cease-fire, in reality were never been observed in the field.
Meanwhile, international diplomacy is moving on several fronts: Russia and Iran, close to the government of Damascus, and Turkey, allied to the rebels, have promoted a new round of talks between envoys of Assad and leaders of armed groups in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, for February15 and 16. Last month, for the first time since the war began in 2011, Moscow, Tehran and Ankara were able to gather the leaders of the two fronts around a table.
However, so far there has not been a real breakthrough to determine a future path of peace and normalization in the country.
Syrian government representative al-Ja’afari rejects Riyadh and all those who want Assad’s exclusion. The latest round of talks in Geneva ended without results. Saudi-backed opposition has no real representativeness on the ground. Hope for a new peace plan might come from the mediation of Russia, Iran, and Turkey in Sochi and Astana.
The Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate was attacked in Haret Al Zeitoun and a Latin parish in Bab Touma. Dozens of shells fell in a few hours. AsiaNews source deny rumors of Christian victims circulated in these hours. On January 21st, a new round of UN talks begins in Geneva.
Kazakhstan’s role will be limited to hosting the meeting. This means that Russia, Iran and Turkey will play the main role in solving the regional crisis. Erdogan reiterates partnership with Moscow. Only Syrian opposition groups sponsored by Ankara will be at the meeting. Other groups have been blocked.