Syrian Govt to Attend Peace Talks, Rebels Reiterate Preconditions

US Urges Rebels to Participate

The Geneva peace talks organized by the UN for Syria are expected to begin on Friday, and the Syrian government is going to sending representatives. They may be alone, however, as the rebels still aren’t agreeing to participate.

Finally invited yesterday, the rebels headed to Saudi Arabia to discuss the possibility of taking part, saying they’d have an answer Wednesday. When Wednesday came, however, all they offered was another round of preconditions.

The US State Department urged the rebels to attend the talks without preconditions, but indications out of Riyadh were that the rebels are mad at the US for endorsing the talks in the first place, saying they were backing the Russians over them.

The Russians weren’t too keen on the UN’s refusal to allow the Kurds to participate in the talks as well, though they still seem to be backing the process on the idea that the Kurds could come to the talks later on. Turkey ruled out any involvement by the Kurds under any conditions.

For months the UN emphasized these talks, which were supposed to begin Monday, as the start of a major process to end the Syrian Civil War, but kept pushing back the invite date until Tuesday over fears nobody would show up. Despite all the delays, however, it looks unlikely a serious rebel presence is going to emerge in the next 48 hours.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.