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Eighth round of Geneva talks failed to achieve intended goals — UN mediator

December 15, 2017, 1:50 UTC+3 GENEVA

"A golden opportunity is missed," de Mistura said

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UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

©  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA, December 15. /TASS/. The eighth round of Syrian reconciliation talks, held in Geneva between November 28 and December 14, failed to reach the intended goals, UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told reporters on Thursday.

This round of talks was intended to focus on an informal document, headlined "12 intra-Syrian essential principles," which was drafted in spring 2016 and updated this March. The document lays down basic principles, such as reaffirming the territorial integrity of Syria, the creation of a democratic state and the preservation of state institutions, including armed forces and security services.

"A golden opportunity is missed," de Mistura said, commenting on the outcome of the negotiations.

For the first time, a united delegation of the Syrian opposition took part in the Geneva talks. De Mistura had meetings with both delegations, but there was no direct talk between the sides.

The UN mediator said the governmental delegation demanded that the opposition withdrew the so-called Riyadh communique. The document, adopted by the united congress of the Syrian opposition in November, says that the transitional period can begin only after Syrian President Bashar Assad resigns.

By creating preconditions, the Syrian government demonstrated that it was not ready to negotiate with the opposition, de Mistura said.

"For us, at the UN, a precondition is when you say ‘I will not talk to that group or that person, unless he or she will do that.’ This is what - in English or in any other language - a precondition is. And this is what the government actually did," de Mistura said.

"I did not see that the government was really looking for a dialogue," he said.

According to the UN mediator, although he met the government’s delegation, they had no "real negotiations."

"The government engaged with me only on terrorism," he said.

At the same time, de Mistura said he had detailed negotiations with the Syrian opposition, including on political transition, constitutional process and elections.

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