UN Declares Syria Talks Started, Rebels Insist They’re Not Staying

Rebel Delegation 'Not Here for Negotiations'

Though all previous indications were that the official beginning was last Friday and they’d already held multiple meetings, the UN announced today as the “formal start” of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva, urging the nations involved to get behind an effort for a ceasefire between the government and moderate rebels.

The plan, initially pushed by Russia, was for a unification of the government and rebels to provide a more cohesive force to fight ISIS, and to install a unity government that would reform the constitution and hold free elections. There’s been very limited support for the plan, however, with a lot of caveats from all those involved.

The rebel delegation at the talks is also reiterating that they’re not really “at the talks,” saying they are “not here for negotiations” and reiterating a series of demands that are preconditions for them sticking around beyond the next few days.

An official from the delegation also faulted the UN for declaring the talks started, saying they’d overstepped their bounds in presenting the talks as actually happening. The UN, however, was fully prepared to hold the talks without any rebels, and seems to be planning to do exactly that.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.