The latest round of peace talks in Geneva regarding the future of Syria has ended without moving a single step closer to a deal, according to United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura.
For de Mistura, although the latest two-week talks amount to the eighth attempt at peace, the Syrian government did not take the process seriously and was not “really looking to find a way to have a dialogue,” The New York Times reports.
“[E]verybody knows…that without a clear political process we risk to not have learned the lesson of Mosul, and we risk to not have what should be winning the peace not only winning the war against Da’esh,” de Mistura said.
As such, there was no progress made toward a peace deal, though de Mistura wants to restart the process again in January once he gets input from major world powers and receives some new ideas.
In order to achieve progress, de Mistura said Wednesday he believes that it’s essential for Russian President Vladimir Putin to put pressure on the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad for concessions. That pressure has not been forthcoming, and it seems unlikely that it will, as Russian state media over the last few days has been publishing numerous pieces in favor of the proposition that the U.S. either will or must accept Assad’s rule in Syria.
For example, Sputnik News published a piece that featured a quote from former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman, in which he stated: “It’s a bit of a joke to premise… the thesis that it is up to Trump, or the United States, to decide who rules Syria.”
While de Mistura doesn’t think that either the Russians or the Syrians actively sabotaged the peace process, he’s concerned they’re not willing enough to seek dialogue. The opposition was willing to engage in dialogue, but also disappointed de Mistura in the sense that opposition leaders are refusing to even consider dropping their stance that Assad has to totally forfeit power at the beginning of any political transition.
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