Geneva 2016 defines plan for future of Syria

 Geneva 2016 defines plan for future of Syria

The UN Secretary General's special envoy Staffan de Mistura introduced the 12-point draft document on the future political structure of Syria after the first round of inter-Syrian talks in Geneva. Staffan de Mistura also urged the participants in the inter-Syrian talks to support the document.

It is worth noting that the 12-point draft document doesn't include any specific proposals, for example, on such issues as the fate of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the document, Syria shall be a democratic, non-sectarian state based on citizenship and political pluralism with equal rights. It also stipulates that foreign fighters can play no role in Syria. "Syrians are committed to rebuilding a strong and unified national army, also through the disarmament and integration of members of armed groups supporting the transition and the new constitution," the document also says.

Another important point of the document is a fixation of the need to combat terrorism, which should include all members of the Syrian conflict.

At the same time, participants in the inter-Syrian talks are offered to agree that "acts of revenge against individuals or groups shall not be tolerated." According to the text of the document, women should have equal rights and representation in all institutions and decision-making structures at a level of at least 30% during the transition and thereafter.

Staffan de Mistura stressed that the main objective of the document is to fix the principles on which everyone will agree. It is expected that the government delegation will give its response only in the next round of talks.

During the presentation of the document, Staffan de Mistura also outlined the question of Kurds’ participation in the talks. "The Kurds are Syrians who should be involved in the inter-Syrian talks. I discussed that issue with the UN Security Council and asked what the response could be. I am still waiting for a reply," he said. 

According to reports, Staffan de Mistura was optimistic about the future of the Syrian settlement process during the presentation of the final document. "We are calculating perhaps 3000 people are alive today since the beginning of the cessation of hostilities. They would not be, based on the statistics that we sadly have been facing every day," he said.

The next round of inter-Syrian talks is scheduled for April 9-11.

The advisor to the deputy chairman of the Federation Council, deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Andrey Baklanov, stressed in conversation with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that the Syrian talks are very viscous in nature, so it is difficult to talk about some serious success. According to the expert, the position of a number of opposition groups, which is excessive and unrealistic, as well as the unresolved Kurdish question hinders the progress of inter-Syrian talks. "The Kurds are a very important military and political force, which affects the actual situation. And it is necessary to ensure their normal participation in the consultations," he explained.

In addition, statements of the participants of the negotiation process don't contribute to the settlement of the Syrian crisis, but even urge on the opposition groups to stand on their unrealistic positions, Baklanov believes. "And this is despite the efforts of the Russian Federation and the United States, which have recently intensified. It is evident from the talks with Kerry in Moscow. But the parties have to go their part of the way themselves. We're cannot do it instead of them, they have to do it, we can only help," the expert pointed out.

As the Director of the Analytical Center of the Institute of International Studies, Andrey Kazantsev, noted, the negotiating process itself is already talking about the productivity of the Syrian settlement. "Because the forces which represent the moderate opposition and Assad's forces almost stopped firing. And the confrontation between Russia and the United States reduced. Another thing is that many of the issues still need to be resolved. The ceasefire is still being broken. But here we must not be naive, this is all a very long time will not be allowed," the expert pointed out.

A senior research fellow of the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Fasih Baderhan, in his turn, noted that the agreement on the date of the second round of inter-Syrian talks is a great progress. In addition, the "background, which was created around these negotiations was very positive, especially the meeting between Mr. Kerry, our Foreign Minister Lavrov and the President Vladimir Putin," the expert said.

"It seems that there were very serious agreements, some of them even may be called a breakthrough. If Russia and the United States can finally agree on the Syrian issue, I think, we may hope that the peace process has already started. I do not think that any players, neither Turkey nor Saudi Arabia nor Qatar nor any other, may prevent it," Fasih Baderhan concluded.


Vestnik Kavkaza

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