Syrian opposition demands detail from govt at peace talks
March 16 2016 12:55 AM


Syrian opposition negotiators demanded yesterday that Syria’s government detail its thoughts on a political transition and said there had been no progress on freeing detainees, who, it said, were being executed at a rate of 50 a day.
The opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) used their first meeting in a round of peace talks in Geneva to give UN mediator Staffan de Mistura a set of general principles to guide the transition, a process to be overseen by Russia and the US in line with a UN resolution.
“We intend to go into detail. We intend to go fast. We would like to see this process make progress very quickly,” HNC member, Basma Kodmani, told reporters after the meeting.
De Mistura met Syrian government negotiators on Monday, who gave him a document entitled “Basic elements for a political solution”, their part of a plan to end the five-year-old conflict that has killed 250,000 people and displaced more than half the pre-war population.
Kodmani said the opposition was eager to hear more about what was in the government’s document.
“We would like to hear what the regime has to offer, because this is the whole point for us,” she said.
“I believe he (de Mistura) has a strategy to bring the points that are common to both sides, to focus on those and build some common ground. Now for that to happen we need the regime to make those propositions in a clear and stated way. We are being very clear and will be even clearer.”
De Mistura said he would collect all input from all sides and “metabolise” them and see where there was “overlapping, contradictions or even common thinking”. He said he would compare the documents from the two delegations.
“We will analyse them, see whether we can make out of that a UN paper, for instance, or whether we can actually add to it,” he said. “The secret is to take the points on one side, the other side, a third side, and come up with our own common sense and techniques in order to try to merge (them).”

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