Latest round of Syria peace talks ends on positive note

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

A United Nations mediator is trying to wrap up talks with the Syrian government and opposition delegations with a clear agenda to guide future talks over ending the six-year civil war in Syria.

Syria's first U.N. -led peace talks in nearly a year ended on Friday without breakthrough but the United Nations mediator said the warring parties now had a clear agenda to pursue a political solution to the country's six-year-long conflict.

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.

"Russia sees an opportunity here to manage the political track in a different way", said a Western diplomat.

There are still "people in Syria and outside who still believe there is a military option or a military", De Mistura warned, but called such ideas "a fantasy", confirming the UN's commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict which has been raging since March 2011, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives in the process.

This round of the UN-brokered negotiations - the first since last April - came shortly after the conclusion of the second round of the Syria peace talks, facilitated by Russia, Turkey and Iran, in the Kazakh capital Astana on February 15 and 16. "It just needs an accelerator".

Mr De Mistura said the UN-led talks had the support of key regional player Turkey, which supports the opposition, as well as Russian Federation and Iran, who are Syrian allies.

Fruit war: Congress says PM lied, misquoted Rahul Gandhi
The election is billed as a major test for the Okram Ibobi Singh-led Congress government in the state which has been in power for the last 15 years.

"De Mistura's mistake was that he did not join several opposition groups into one".

Archaeologists have decried what they say is extensive damage to Palmyra's treasured ruins.

Government representatives, meanwhile, have accused the opposition of taking the talks "hostage", accusing the rebels of including members of "armed terrorist groups".

Russian media quoted Gatilov as saying the meeting had been constructive.

Syrian troops fully recaptured Palmyra on Thursday after a push that saw the militants' defences crumble and IS fighters flee in the face of artillery fire and intense Russia-backed airstrikes.

Counter-terrorism was added to the agenda at the insistence of President al-Assad's delegation, according to the UN. "The difficulty is that the opposition wants to be sure how the question of terrorism will be dealt with and in what order", one diplomat said.

The military expects the process to be long and hard due to the large number of mines planted by IS, a Syrian security official said on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Recommended News

  • Banksy Built A Hotel Overlooking The Israel-Palestine Barrier

    Banksy Built A Hotel Overlooking The Israel-Palestine Barrier

    Israel refers to it as the security barrier and insists it is crucial for keeping out would-be attackers. Set to open its doors to guests on March 20, the hotel team wants Israelis to see the wall up close.
    US Federal Reserve plans rate hike this month: Evercore ISI

    US Federal Reserve plans rate hike this month: Evercore ISI

    In addition to a stronger United States dollar, USA bond yields also increased over night due to the hype around a Fed move. Investors will be listening for clues Friday on whether the central bank will raise interest rates again later this month.
    PSL 2nd Playoff 2017

    PSL 2nd Playoff 2017

    The second qualifying final of Pakistan Super League 2017 is going to be played between Islamabad United and Karachi Kings. Both teams 8 points from the 8 matches they had played but Kings were ahead of the United for net run rate.
  • Animal Adventure Park giraffe birth cam

    Animal Adventure Park giraffe birth cam

    This is despite promises that the baby giraffe could turn up at any minute - and people are starting to get a little twitchy. No, April the giraffe from all of those Facebook lives still hasn't given birth, but another giraffe has made it look easy.
    Northwestern Beats Michigan on Full-Court Pass, Buzzer-Beater

    Northwestern Beats Michigan on Full-Court Pass, Buzzer-Beater

    The point is that the streak is over thanks to one of the most incredible passes you'll see on a basketball court. Northwestern's Bryant McIntosh is now up to 525 career assists, three short of Michael Thompson's school record .
    US Strikes in Yemen Target al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula

    US Strikes in Yemen Target al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula

    Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens, 36, was killed in the raid, as were civilians, reportedly including an 8-year-old girl. A number of civilians were also killed in the battle, something the Pentagon has acknowledged and is investigating.
  • LeEco denies India exit rumors, to soon launch new smartphones and TVs

    LeEco denies India exit rumors, to soon launch new smartphones and TVs

    Another senior industry executive said LeEco was now liquidating stock and will exit in the next few months. It exited offline sales due to limited funds allotted for the Indian market following the same.
    Death threats to filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's family: UP Police nab one suspect

    Death threats to filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's family: UP Police nab one suspect

    The caller allegedly threatened to kill his daughter Alia Bhatt and wife Soni Razdan if he was unable to fulfil his demand. Looking at the scenario; the Bhatts approached the Juhu police station to register a complaint against the caller.
    RSS man announces bounty for Kerala CM's head, gets panned

    RSS man announces bounty for Kerala CM's head, gets panned

    While holding the chief minister responsible for the murders, Chandravat said Pinarayi had no right to live in this country. Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala demanded the arrest of the RSS leader who issued the death threat.
  • U.S.  airstrikes target Al-Qaida in Yemen

    U.S. airstrikes target Al-Qaida in Yemen

    Successive US administrations have kept up a drone war against Al-Qaeda in Yemen since soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Such investigations are routinely conducted for the deaths of any deployed US military service member.
    Woman questioned after 9yo boy mauled, 5yo boy missing in Murray River

    Woman questioned after 9yo boy mauled, 5yo boy missing in Murray River

    A hero pit bull came to the rescue of a young boy who almost drowned at the hands of his crystal meth-addicted mother, police say. Local police officer Superintendent Paul Condon would have seen many horrors in his years on the front line.
    Red Sox ace will reportedly not undergo surgery

    Red Sox ace will reportedly not undergo surgery

    Price threw 38 pitches in a two-inning simulated game Tuesday, and he reported soreness Wednesday morning, Farrell said . Price is under contract through the 2022 season and he will make $187M over that time (AAV of $31.2M).

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.