Sunday, 12 March 2017

Geneva 4 and the shifting shape of Syria diplomacy

Geneva 4 and the shifting shape of Syria diplomacy

With a parallel track of talks and an amended agenda, the diplomatic process to end Syria's war is transforming.


The fourth round of UN-led Syria talks, dubbed Geneva 4, wrapped up last week with a tentative agreement between warring sides on an agenda for future negotiations - but a problematic work plan coupled with shifting international priorities could draw out the already lengthy diplomatic process.
For nine days, United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura met separately with delegations from the Syrian government and three different opposition groups in an effort to end six years of bloody war.
But the negotiations, the first in 10 months, turned out be little more than closed-door consultations - evidence of a diplomatic process kept on life-support by the international community for lack of any other option.
Any real movement on the key opposition demand for a political transition remained stalled amid disagreements over the make-up of the opposition delegation and the government's demand to add "counterterrorism" as a core subject of negotiation.