Why the inter-Syrian talks are stalling

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Staffan de Mistura

The inter-Syrian talks on a conflict settlement began in Geneva on January 29th, but were soon suspended. The reason for the suspension, according to the UN Secretary General's special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was the fact that the parties focused on discussion of procedural issues rather than solving specific problems. February 25th was announced as the date of resumption of negotiations.

However, a member of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, Igor Morozov, believes that the problem is not in procedural issues, but in the opposition's position: "We witnessed the first phase of Geneva-3 on January 25-26th, when the representatives of the Syrian opposition arrived with fairly hawkish sentiments, somehow believing that their pre-conditions could be satisfied because they represent the Syrian people. In fact, the Syrian people today are represented by a variety of military and political groups that defend their interests. But, most importantly, Syrian statehood, independence and sovereignty are defended by the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, the armed forces, which together with the Russian Air Force are carrying out a successful air-ground operation."

According to Morozov, "Over the past three months more than 200 settlements were liberated. The authorities are restored there, municipal administration self-defense is organized, which carries out the function of the police forces. I think that the military success of the Syrian armed forces needs to be developed. And most importantly, it is to stop all transport routes for weapons, ammunition and funding for the jihadist groups. This offensive cannot just be stopped now. All the demands of the opposition first to stop and then to negotiate, I think that these demands are unacceptable. It is possible to negotiate for them only with the guarantee of these negotiations, that is, with the United States, in case they assume those obligations which can be trusted, that after that the jihadist groups will depart from the territory of Syria's national borders," Morozov thinks.

However, he believes it is impossible: "I think the Americans know it. Yielding on the decision that it is necessary to cooperate in all areas, including the military one, only shows the correct and consistent policy of President Putin in the Syrian track, about endurance, about the mighty military spirit of the Syrian army. And in cooperation with the Kurdish militia and self-defense of the cities we can continue to develop these successes today."

Morozov is sure that the Syrian negotiations, which are discussed, including during the Munich Conference, which started yesterday, "are the key part of all the discussions that we expect from our partners in the EU and the US, the regional players of the conflict. The solutions that will be found during the negotiations are important for the prospects of the post-war settlement in Syria. We must continue to stand our ground. An end of the combat operations can only happen if the United States guarantees that all the terrorists will go beyond the geographical boundaries of Syria."

ФОТО Staffan de Mistura