UN-brokered Syrian peace talks resume eclipsed by Russian-led forum

UN-brokered Syrian peace talks resume eclipsed by Russian-led forum

The major parties to the Syrian conflict will resume talks in Vienna today as parallel Russian-backed talks in Sochi next

UN Syria talks

Photo: UN/Jean-Marc Ferré

The major parties to the Syrian conflict will resume talks in Vienna today as parallel Russian-backed talks in Sochi next week near.

Previous UN talks, including the last in Geneva, have failed to find consensus. The Syrian government and opposition remain at odds. To date, the opposition has steadfastly refused to entertain any participation in the Russian meetings—which have been going on since early 2017—but a major opposition group has this week softened its stance, wanting “full and clear information” before considering joining the Sochi talks. However, this more likely a move to pressure the UN to force Assad to end the war.

Sochi represents the ongoing failure of the UN peace process, which has been exacerbated by the recent Turkish military operations in northern Syrian city of Afrin against the Syrian-Kurds. Expect the UN to seek a breakthrough in Vienna, such as a timeline for new elections. A bonus achievement would be agreement on key parts of a post-war constitution. Despite the glacial progress, the opposition parties are likely to remain with the UN talks.

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