Syrian government says opposition holding Geneva talks hostage

Syrian government says opposition holding Geneva talks hostage

The general principles on the future of Syria were derived from points set out by United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura a year ago, Hariri told reporters after the final meeting of the round of United Nations -led talks in Geneva, the first in 10 months.

"The train is ready, it's in the station, it's warming up its engine".

The Geneva negotiations, the first since April 2016, were the latest effort to seek to end a conflict that began in March 2011 with protests against Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.

We declared ourselves in favor of an inclusive dialogue with the participation of all groups, including those in the opposition that are ready to take action for a political solution, the Russian diplomat said.

According to de Mistura, who acts as mediator between rival delegations, bilateral meetings produced an outline which will form the backbone for future rounds of talks.

The fourth round of talks on the Syrian conflict in Geneva ended with the modest hope that the two sides to the conflict realise that dialogue is the only viable option left to settle the six-year old conflict, which left almost half-a-million people dead, hundreds of thousands injured and no less than 11 million Syrians either displaced or refugees.

But he held up a photograph of the opening ceremony of the talks last Thursday, when both sides gathered in the same room, albeit only to hear a welcome address by de Mistura.

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The latest round of intra-Syrian peace talks wrapped up on Friday, with UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura commending the progress made since negotiations kicked off last week.

"We are closing this round without (a) clear result. but I can say this time was more positive", HNC delegation chief Nasr al-Hariri told reporters.

"It was first time we discussed in an acceptable depth the issues of the future of Syria and political transition", he said.

The parties have agreed to return to the negotiating table later in March to discuss four key issues: governance, a draft constitution, elections and counter-terrorism.

He warned that there are people in Syria and outside who still believe there is a military option or a military solution.

The Astana meetings would deal with "maintenance of the ceasefire, immediate confidence-building measures and operational counter-terrorism issues", the United Nations mediator told a reporters.

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