Opposition groups may not attend the Geneva peace talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict.
Geneva peace talks for Syria are about to begin in Switzerland amidst mounting confusion whether the opposition groups will come and attend them.
Some leaders for the Syrian opposition had said that their representatives will not attend the Geneva peace talks unless bombing of civilians areas was stopped, however, another senior figure later said that the said representatives will go.
A delegation from the Syrian regime will arrive shortly for the Geneva peace talks. Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy said to the people of Syria that the Geneva talks ‘cannot fail.’ The civil war in Syria has claimed more than 250,000 lives over the past five years.
More than 11 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes as militias allied with the regime and the ones opposed to it battle each other. The situation is further aggravated by the rise of the Islamic State which controls large chunks of territories in Syria and its neighboring Iraq.
Ahmad Fawzi, the United Nations spokesman stated on Friday that Geneva peace talks will go ahead as planned. However, he was unable to shed light on which delegations will be attending the talks.
The opposition negotiations committee which was formed last month declared on Thursday that it will certainly not attend the conference. After conducting a meeting in the Saudi capital, the committee stated that it will first want the air strikes to end. The regime blockades must also be lifted before the commencement of the Geneva peace talks.
The head of the committee, Riad Hijab told the al – Arabiya TV network that he will not attend the Geneva peace talks. He could be there but he will certainly not enter the room where negotiations are being carried out unless his stated demands were met.
But Hassan Abdel Azim, another senior member of the committee said that opposition members were leaving to attend the Geneva peace talks. He said some other members of the committee will also be there.
He confirmed to the BBC that some of the members of the committee had refused to attend the Geneva peace talks but this was because they were under pressure from regional powers.
The Geneva peace talks are dubbed as proximity talks. It is expected that they will carry on for six months. Delegations will not face each other but rather sit in separate places. UN officials will be shuttling between these delegations.
The first and the foremost priority of the Geneva peace talks is an end to hostilities, a broad ceasefire and allowing of humanitarian deliveries. Defeating the Islamic State is also an immediate priority.
However, the ultimate objective of the talks are to reach a settlement that will include a transitional period culminating in elections to be carried out as per the UN resolution passed during the previous month.
The previous talks had broken down in February 2014 after holding two rounds. The UN had said that both the regime and the opposition were responsible for the failure of these talks.