BEIRUT, Dec 7 – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s
negotiating team is set to arrive in Geneva on Sunday to
participate in peace talks, Syria’s state news agency SANA
reported on Thursday, quoting a foreign ministry source.
The delegation, led by Bashar al-Ja’afari, walked out last
week and returned to Damascus. Negotiations resumed on Wednesday
without the Syrian government delegation.
The talks began last week and after a few days with little
apparent progress, the U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said
that the government delegation was returning to Damascus to
“consult and refresh”.
The government delegation blamed its departure on the
opposition’s uncompromising stance on Assad’s future. Last
month, the opposition drew up a statement in a meeting in Riyadh
that rejected any future role for Assad in Syria.
During last week’s sessions, de Mistura shuttled between the
representatives of the two warring sides, who did not meet
face-to-face. He had planned to continue the round until Dec.
The opposition negotiating team arrived at the U.N. offices
in Geneva on Wednesday morning to resume talks with de Mistura.
France accused the Syrian government on Wednesday of
obstructing the peace talks with its refusal to return to Geneva
and called on Russia not to shrink its responsibilities to get
Damascus to the negotiating table.