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Geneva peace talks may start without Syrian regime

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]
Bashar Jaafari, permanent representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the UN at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland on 25 February 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın / Anadolu Agency]

The Syrian opposition delegation at peace talks in Geneva on Monday asked major powers to pressure the Assad regime to take part.

The regime delegation has not yet arrived for the eighth round of the talks, which are scheduled to start Tuesday, Nasr al-Hariri, head of the opposition delegation, told reporters.

The opposition wants the regime to participate in negotiations on a political transition, a new constitution and elections.

Hariri said the opposition delegation will meet with UN envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura on the first day of the talks.

He reiterated that the opposition delegation was aiming for Bashar al-Assad's removal with the political transition.

Resigned Syrian opposition figure: We were asked to accept Assad or leave

"The government delegation should come ready to negotiate," de Mistura said Monday at a briefing from Geneva to the UN Security Council.

"Last night, we received a message that the government would not travel to Geneva today," de Mistura said, adding "the delegation was tasked to negotiate in Geneva without any preconditions, to discuss all issues on the agenda and to have the implementation of relevant UN resolutions as the sole reference for the negotiations".

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