Syrian peace talks in Moscow end in disarray

Parties agreed on a set of principles for a political settlement; opposition later reverses its position

Talks between the Syrian government and the opposition ended in acrimony on Friday with the parties blaming each other for the breakdown.

The Russian mediator of the weeklong meeting, Vitaly Naumkin, said the parties agreed on a set of principles for a political settlement, including the condemnation of foreign support for terrorist groups, a call for preserving state institutions and lifting economic sanctions.

But some opposition representatives later reversed their support for the initially approved document because of a failure to agree on moves to improve mutual trust, such as prisoners’ release, said Mr. Naumkin, head of the Moscow-based Institute for Eastern Studies.

Moscow arranged the negotiations in a bid to raise its international profile at a time of bitter tensions with the West over Ukraine. The meeting followed the first round of Moscow-hosted talks in January.

The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, refused to attend the Moscow talks amid deep distrust of Russia’s intentions.

Russia has staunchly backed Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s government throughout the country’s civil war, now in its fifth year, which has killed more than 220,000 people and has turned nearly four million into refugees.

Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s U.N. envoy who represented the Syrian government in the negotiations, sought to cast them as a success, hailing the initially agreed document. He tried to downplay opposition reversal of support.

But Samir Aita, one of the opposition representatives who attended the talks, criticised the government for stonewalling demands for prisoner releases. He said “the document doesn’t create hope, on the contrary, it destroys it.”

A letter from the Editor

Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:53:08 PM |

Next Story