Syrian opposition sets new conditions for peace talks

One of the main Syrian opposition blocs said Wednesday that it was unlikely to attend Geneva peace talks this week unless progress is made toward lifting sieges in the country and other conditions are met, adding that it was awaiting clarifications from the U.N. envoy.


The announcement cast further uncertainty on peace talks scheduled to begin in two days.


Expectations are already low for any breakthroughs during talks that U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura has described as the start of a drawn-out process of consultation between various parties to the conflict, rather than actual peace negotiations.


Khaled Nasser, a member of the Syrian National Coalition — one of the main opposition groups in the bloc — said Wednesday that he believed negotiations with limited ambitions would “waste time.”


“Friday was never going to be the start of negotiations,” said Nasser. “De Mistura said it is for consultations and discussions…. We don’t want to waste time with consultations and discussions.”


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