02/04/2016, 10.04
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Geneva UN negotiations for peace in Syria suspended. Both sides play blame game

Special envoy Staffan de Mistura claims it is just a temporary break and is not a sign of the failure of the talks. But experts say: "Negotiations never really begun." Opposition accuse the government of bombing and starving people. Damascus says rebels backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United Nations has temporarily suspended talks between representatives of the Damascus government and rebel groups, aimed at reaching an agreement to end the Syrian conflict.

The UN leaders have also appealed to the nations that "feed" the war, that they may strive to produce concrete results in the peace process. The decision came yesterday, the third day of meetings; the resumption of talks will not take place before February 25th.

The UN special envoy Syria Staffan de Mistura stated that it was "concluded, frankly, that after the first week of preparatory talks, there is still much work to be done, not only by us, but also on the fronts concerned." The diplomat’s comments came at the end of a new round of meetings with the two delegations.

De Mistura also wanted to point out that the break does not mean "the end or the failure of the talks". And in a statement released late in the evening, the special envoy explained that the failure of the government to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the country - allowing the entry of food and medicine - are among the reasons that have prevented any serious discussion .

The abrupt termination of peace talks casts a shadow on the donors' conference, which begins today in London. The richest nations in the world are called, on this occasion, to raise money to bring aid to the Syrian population, those who remained in the territory or fled abroad, the victim of five years of bloody conflict.

The statement issued by de Mistura contains a clear reference to world powers (US and Russia) and regional governments that support one of the two fronts and further hinder the fragile road to peace. It urges positive developments in the meeting scheduled for February 11 in Germany which will involve all the major actors in the Syrian territory.

Analysts and observers explain that the suspension of the negotiations also shows how difficult it is to achieve even the minimum goals of a truce or local agreements to ease a conflict that has already caused 260 thousand deaths and at least 11 million displaced. The difficulties were obvious, but the interruption after just two days took many by surprise.

Staffan de Mistura reiterated that it is just a temporary pause; however, the actual negotiations have never begun.

Meanwhile representatives of the Syrian government and opposition have begun to play the blame game for the failure, at least so far, of the UN in Geneva negotiations. The delegates of the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee (HNC),  say they will not return to the negotiating table until the situation on the ground improves. They accuse the government in Damascus  of bombing and starving civilians. By contrast, representatives of the government loyal to President Bashar al-Assad blames the opposition for the suspension, obtained to please the wishes of Turkey and the Gulf countries (above all Saudi Arabia and Qatar) who want the "failure" of the negotiations.

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