Syrian government refuses direct talks with opposition

Syrian government refuses direct talks with opposition

By Ellen Ratner   
Published
Bashar Ja’afari (centre), Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the UN, arrives for the opening of the renewed intra-Syrian talks. Geneva, Switzerland. March 14, 2016. UN Photo/Anne-Laure Lechat
Bashar Ja’afari (centre), Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the UN, arrives for the opening of the renewed intra-Syrian talks. Geneva, Switzerland. March 14, 2016. UN Photo/Anne-Laure Lechat

Lead government negotiator accuses his opposition counterpart of ties to terrorism.

UNITED NATIONS (Talk Media News) – Syrian peace talks being held in Geneva this week just got a bit more complicated.

The Syrian government’s lead negotiator, U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari, said on Wednesday that he won’t meet face to face with the lead opposition negotiator, Mohammed Alloush, citing alleged ties to terrorism.

Alloush represents the High Negotiations Committee, a group backed by Saudi Arabia that’s gained prominence in recent months.

The HNC represents some of the more powerful armed groups fighting the Assad government, and the group has eclipsed former opposition factions like the Istanbul-based Syrian National Committee, which was accused of having few ties to those battling to retake Syria.

With the prospect of face-to-face talks between the government and opposition off the table for now, U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura will continue so-called proximity talks, meeting each group one-on-one and relaying messages to the other.

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