Syria talks end with agreement for more talks

World Today

After nine days, negotiators at the Syrian peace talks in Geneva were unable to agree to meet face-to-face. This follows rebels talking to Russians and the Russians have talked to government officials.

In a process where progress has been measured in inches, the U.N. remains optimistic.

CGTN’s Alaa Ebrahim reports.

Syria talks end with agreement for more talks

After nine days, negotiators at the Syrian peace talks in Geneva were unable to agree to meet face-to-face. This follows rebels talking to Russians and the Russians have talked to government officials. In a process where progress has been measured in inches, the U.N. remains optimistic. CGTN’s Alaa Ebrahim reports.

The Syrian government and opposition groups managed to agree on something in Geneva, what to discuss at their next meeting.

The next round will focus on what needs to be done to create a transitional government. The topics include government reforms, elections and a new constitution. The government succeeded in adding counter-terrorism to the agenda.

The head of the government delegation, Bashar Al-Ja’afari, said the different rebel factions need to be united in one group.

The opposition is divided into several groups. The largest is the so-called Higher Negotiations Committee, or HNC-a Saudi-backed coalition that includes organizations that Damascus and Moscow consider terrorists. There are also two smaller groups known as the “Moscow and Cairo platforms.”

The HNC said the priority should be a political transition that excludes sitting president Bashar Al-Assad-a request that other opposition groups call unrealistic.

The talks were overshadowed by several developments on the Syrian battlefield. Turkish and rebel fighters seized the city of al-Bab city from ISIL. A suicide attack by a radical group affiliated with al-Qaeda killed more than thirty government soldiers and finally the Syrian army also re-captured the historic city of Palmyra from ISIL.

De Mistura said he’ll invite the warring sides back to the negotiating table this month after he briefs the UN Secretary General and Security Council on the latest developments.