Syria regime accuses Saudi, Turkey of derailing peace talks

BEIRUT, LEBANON- The Syrian regime late Monday accused Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar -- all backers of the opposition -- of seeking to derail peace talks in Geneva, after the rebels suspended their participation in the negotiations.
"There has been a decision... in Saudi Arabia, in Turkey and in Qatar to derail inter-Syrian decision-making," the regime's lead negotiator in Geneva, Bashar al-Jaafari, said in an interview with Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen.

"They do not want there to be a dialogue between Syrians -- they want to make the Geneva negotiations fail."
He added: "The Saudi, Turkish and Qatari sponsors do not want to stop the bloodbath in Syria and do not want a political solution in Syria."
Jaafari said the opposition and the countries that support it are "annoyed because of the progress being made by the Syrian army on the ground".
The UN struggled Monday to keep the troubled Geneva talks on track, as the opposition suspended its "formal participation", accusing the regime of repeated violations of a fragile ceasefire in place since February 27.
Riad Hijab, coordinator for opposition umbrella group the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said it was "unacceptable" for the negotiations to continue while the regime of President Bashar al-Assad continues to "bombard and starve civilians".
But UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura insisted the ongoing round of indirect discussions, which began on April 13, would continue through the week as planned.
The fate of Assad remains a major sticking point between the two sides.
The HNC insists that any peace deal must include Assad's departure from power. Damascus has so far said the president's future is off limits.
Jaafari said Monday that an "expanded government" was its objective in Geneva. "The presidency has nothing to do with the activities of the delegations (and discussing this issue) is not the responsibility of the negotiators in Geneva," he added.

Tuesday, April 19th 2016

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