Creating new perspectives since 2009

‘Terrorism’ at centre of Syria talks

March 24, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Bashar Jaafari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the UN at a press conference after meeting with UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura in Geneva, Switzerland on February 25, 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın / Anadolu Agency]

Syria’s chief negotiator at UN peace talks in Geneva today attacked opposition fighters and groups whose aim is to depose the country’s president, labelling them “terrorists”.

Fresh from a two-hour meeting with UN mediator Staffan de Mistura, which he said had focused primarily on combatting terrorism, Bashar Al-Ja’afari told reporters he would follow up tomorrow with another meeting, again all about terrorism.

De Mistura has said the agenda for the round of peace talks, expected to run until 1 April, covers four topics: a new constitution, new elections, reformed governance and counter-terrorism, included at Ja’afari’s request.

Read: Syria says US action on Daesh-held Raqqa ‘illegitimate’ 

The first three topics are collectively supposed to ensure a political transition in Syria. Al-Ja’afari said they would not be neglected, but terrorism needed to be the priority.

Al-Ja’afari listed a number of “regimes” whom he deemed “sponsors of terrorism”: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, Britain, Qatar, Jordan and Israel.

He did not include the United States, which looks set to change its Syria policy to focus on defeating Daesh and Al-Qaeda-linked groups rather than trying to unseat President Bashar Al-Assad.