Uncertain if Opposition Will Attend Syria Talks in Geneva on January 29

Time: 8:21 p.m. CEST

Hours before the start of the peace talks in Geneva for a possible end of almost five-year civil war in Syria, it is unknown of the Syrian opposition would attend to the talks.

The Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) says it will attend the talks if the air strikes stop and government lift the sieges.

Salem al-Muslat, the spokesperson to the HNC said to Al Jazeera on Thursday said that the obstacles for them are those who continue the bombing and starve the civilians.

Despite those messages from Riyadh, the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura in a video message said that the talks should expect “in the next few days.” Al Jazeera says sources tell them “the talks were likely to be delayed.”

Al Jazeera publishes a statement of Assad al-Zoabi, the head of the HNC, that even the delegates decide to go, the timeframe will be short for them to arrive in Geneva on Friday.

The opposition request of the UN includes clarification on the talks and end of Russian air strikes of opposition forces. As Al Jazeera reports, the Syrian government delegation, lead by Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, confirmed it will attend.

The White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday referred correspondents to the Department of State for the latest details on the talks scheduled to start tomorrow in Geneva.

But, Earnest said, “What is planned for Geneva are not face-to-face talks between those two groups of people, but rather proximity and UN officials a sort of shuttling between representatives of the government and representatives of opposition to try to advance diplomatic process.”


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