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Rudaw

Syria

Syrian regime delegation to rejoin UN peace talks in Geneva

By Rudaw 7/12/2017
Members of the delegation of the Syrian Negotiation Commission arrive for a meeting during the Intra Syria talks in Geneva on December 1. Photo: Denis Balibouse | AFP
Members of the delegation of the Syrian Negotiation Commission arrive for a meeting during the Intra Syria talks in Geneva on December 1. Photo: Denis Balibouse | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A delegation for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will return to Geneva next week to continue this round of UN-backed peace talks from which they had withdrawn.

The group, headed by Syria's UN Ambassador and chief negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari, will arrive in Switzerland on Sunday, Syria's state-run SANA news agency reported on Thursday.

The delegation reportedly will stay in Geneva until December 15, according to SANA.

The regime delegation walked out of the eighth-round of intra-Syrian peace talks on December 1, just three days after their November 28th start.

UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said the government delegation had returned to Damascus in order to "consult and refresh." During a previous opposition group meeting in Riyadh, the rebels drafted a statement that rejected any future role for Assad in the country.

An opposition negotiation team resumed talks with Mistura on Wednesday.

"We have had our fifth session of this round. We have discussed the first basket on political transition, about how relations should be in the institutions," opposition delegation spokesman Yahya Aridi told reporters on Wednesday in Geneva.

Chief opposition negotiator Nasr al-Hariri told reporters on Tuesday after meeting with Mistura that it is the responsibility of the international community "to announce to the world which party is rejecting negotiation."

Assad's primary backer, Russia, declared Syria "completely liberated" from ISIS on Wednesday.

The ISIS conflict emerged midway through the Syrian civil war which is nearing its seventh year.

According to a statement from Mistura, he has requested both delegations to focus on the baskets of the constitutional process and elections for next week's talks.

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