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United Nations peace talks on Syria crisis begin in Geneva on Tuesday
29 November 2017, 12:59 | Todd Saunders
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While not expecting an immediate breakthrough, UN-mediator Staffan de Mistura has said this could be the first "real negotiation".
He had said the Syrian government should come ready to negotiate and there needs to be a "united opposition delegation with common positions that comes ready to negotiate".
The government delegation did not arrive in Geneva on Monday, but de Mistura planned to go ahead Tuesday with meetings with opposition figures.
"The (Syrian) government did not yet confirm its participation in Geneva, but indicated that we would be hearing from them soon", said De Mistura, briefing the UN Security Council via a video conference from Geneva as he was preparing for round eight of the UN-convened Syrian talks on November 28. "We see the emergence of global consensus, and we must begin to stitch the process into concrete results, enabling Syrians to determine their own future freely". "But we will be offering that", he said after meeting the opposition delegation.
The 8th round of Geneva talks will focus on getting to an inclusive process to draft and ratify a new constitution.
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"It no longer has the pretext that the opposition is fragmented".
"'The Assad regime continues to inflict brutal suffering on the people while procrastinating and making excuses about the diplomacy in Geneva", said Yahya Aridi, the spokesman for the unified opposition delegation, officially called the Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC).
In an emailed statement, the opposition negotiating committee said it was ready to meet the government side.
Earlier, the pro-Damascus Syrian newspaper al-Watan reported that the Syrian government delegation to an eighth round of peace talks in Geneva this week has not yet left Damascus.
The government delegation will be headed by Syria's United Nations ambassador and chief negotiator Bashar al-Ja'afari, SANA said.
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