Slow but steady: Syrian talks

Slow but steady: Syrian talks

Yet another round of intra-Syrian peace talks draws to a close on Friday. While no substantial breakthroughs are expected in

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Yet another round of intra-Syrian peace talks draws to a close on Friday. While no substantial breakthroughs are expected in Geneva, painfully slow progress is indeed being made.

Opposition representatives emerged from a meeting with Russia’s deputy foreign minister on Wednesday sounding unusually optimistic, going so far as to call the talks “very positive”. UN mediator Staffan de Mistura has also been driving discussions towards addressing issues surrounding a future political transition process and new constitution.

But serious issues remain. Despite repeated meetings in the Kazakh capital of Astana, Syrian rebels continue to protest daily breaches of a ceasefire deal – a serious thorn in the side of productive peace talks.

Another roadblock is the opposition’s flat out refusal to accept a role for Bashar al-Assad in any sort of transitional arrangement: a clear non-starter for regime negotiators.

Parties are set to meet again in early May in Astana; expect more slow but steady progress.

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