Adding to the already tenuous prospect of this month’s Geneva peace talks on Syria accomplishing anything, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem has insisted his government’s agreement to attend is wholly conditional on the banning of “terrorist” groups from the meeting.
Moallem didn’t indicate which groups are considered terrorists, but did insist he wanted to see a list of which rebel groups are scheduled to be invited. This is problematic as the US and Russia, who have been trying to come up with a list of terrorist groups so they know who not to invite, seem at an impasse.
Even if such a list is eventually assembled, none of the rebel factions have even agreed to attend in the first place, and are demanding a range of concessions from the Assad government to go to the event.
Ultimately, this raises the prospect both that no rebel groups will attend, and that the Syrian government might not attend either over objections to who was invited. Either way, the chance of both sides attending, let alone getting anywhere, seems extremely remote.