MESOP Syria Daily: UN Envoy Looks to Breakthrough from US-Russia Meeting

by Scott Lucas – 23 March 2016 – eawolrdview – Frustrated by the Assad regime in his pursuit of political transition in Syria, UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Tuesday that he is hoping for a breakthrough from a high-level US-Russian meeting. US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Moscow on Wednesday for two days of discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.De Mistura said after meeting the opposition High Negotiations Committee in Geneva:We are looking with great interest, expectation, hope that the talks in Moscow will be productive.

Honestly not everything will be solved in one day – but [it would be] productive…to resume the talks with a much more in-depth address on the issue of political transition.

Since talks resumed on March 14, the UN envoy has been frustrated by an Assad delegation that has refused to discuss any transition in which the Syrian President steps aside.The head of the delegation, UN Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari has put up a series of barriers to significant discussions of transition. He has said that he does not who “is representing the opposition delegation”. He has claimed the opposition-rebel HNC is filled with “terrorists” and said he will not talk to the HNC’s lead negotiation, rebel commander Mohammad Alloush, until he “shaves his beard”.Officials and diplomats have said that a document presented by Jaafari to de Mistura last week, “Basic Elements for a Political Solution”, is “very thin”, “bland”, and “off the point”, with no mention of transition.The UN envoy subsequently called on both sides to responds to a list of questions about the elements of a political resolution.However, Jaafari has responded by accusing de Mistura of “filibustering” and “wasting time” by not giving a response to the “Basic Elements” document.


Asaad al-Zoubi of the opposition-rebel HNC said on Tuesday it is “obvious that are no points of convergence” with the regime group. He warned:There is a risk — and I don’t know where the breaking point is –– that if these talks go on without leading anywhere without coming close to the essential issue of transition, that surely there is a breaking point where the opposition will feel what is the use?. Al-Zoubi said the regime, instead of de-escalating the conflict, has doubled the number of sieges on opposition towns and stepped up barrel bombing of areas such as East Ghouta near Damascus:The government continues to flout international resolutions. Instead of lifting the sieges, the regime is tightening sieges on cities and…the regime is renewing again its barrel-bombing of Syrian towns.