Syrian negotiators arrive for Geneva peace talks

By REUTERS
February 23, 2017 13:32
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GENEVA - Syrian negotiators arrived separately to meet U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura in Geneva on Thursday in a low-key start to the first UN-led peace talks in almost a year.

Government negotiator Bashar al-Ja'afari, Syria's ambassador to the U.N. in New York, and lead opposition negotiator Nasr al-Hariri arrived separately at the UN office in Geneva, resuming negotiations that have been on hold since April 2016.

The scope of the talks has been cut down to core political questions since last year, after a new initiative by Russia, Turkey and Iran took thorny military issues off the Geneva agenda and transferred them to a separate process in the Kazakh capital Astana.

Previous attempts to negotiate an end to the almost six-year-old conflict collapsed as violence escalated, especially around the city of Aleppo, which is now totally under the control of forces loyal to Syria's government.

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