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Monday, 18 April 2016

Syrian "rebels" seek pause in Geneva peace talks

The main Syrian opposition coalition has urged the United Nations to pause peace talks until Damascus "shows it is serious about political transition" as rebel groups vowed to strike back against alleged truce violations.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN mediator, said on Monday that the coalition delegation would stay in Geneva, but postpone their formal participation in the negotiations.

They are pausing the talks "in order to express their own displeasure and concern on the humanitarian situation degradation and on the problems related to the cessation of hostilities," said de Mistura.

"Their intention is to remain in Geneva in their hotel and possibly at my own suggestion to pursue technical discussions with myself and my team."

De Mistura said the talks still had time as the timetable for getting a new constitution and getting a political transition was up to August.

"We should not expect, and no one should expect, that after five years of a conflict a political transition by miracle in one week is solved," he said.

Riad Hijab, the head of the coalition, said that it was "unacceptable" for the talks to continue while President Bashar al-Assad's forces carried on to "bombard and starve civilians" in Syria.

Hijab said the Syrian government and its allies have used the talks as a "pretext" for waging their military campaign. He says the government has also kept up its siege of civilian areas...
 [aljazeera.com]
18/4/16

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