World Powers Meet in New York to Discuss Proposed Syrian Transition

World Powers Meet in New York to Discuss Proposed Syrian Transition

World powers gather in New York Friday for the third round of talks on a proposed Syrian political transition, weeks before a plan to launch U.N.-mediated talks between the Syrian government and opposition.

The U.S. State Department said countries invited for the talks are similar to those who participated in previous rounds in Vienna, including Russia and Iran, who are allies of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The goal there is to continue to try to better define what we think the political transition and the process itself should look like; to try to put more fidelity on the notion of a cease-fire,” said State Department spokesperson John Kirby.

UN Security Council

The so-called International Syria Support Group, or ISSG, also hopes to submit a resolution to be endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. This resolution would endorse the plan for a political transition and a proposed cease-fire

"What is important at this time, as we agreed through Vienna 1 and 2 process, it’s important that we should have a nationwide cease-fire as soon as possible,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during an end-of-year news conference Wednesday.

Among the ISSG goals is a plan to draft a terrorist list, which would identify groups that would be barred from the proposed cease-fire, as well as a Syrian opposition group list that would identify participants in the political dialogue with the Syrian government.

Speaking late Thursday at U.N. headquarters, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed doubt the conference would make much progress on identifying acceptable Syrian opposition groups.

"We haven't seen the list yet, but we believe that card-carrying members of al-Qaida do not satisfy the conditions that we've set for members of the opposition in Vienna," Zarif said.

Zarif's statement reflects one of the key unresolved questions at the talks: whether Iran and Russia will agree to negotiations with many of the Syrian rebel groups they have regularly condemned as terrorists.

Jessica Ashooh, a Middle East expert from the Atlantic Council, told VOA the key things to watch for in the resolution are the language used to address terrorist groups and if the 2012 Geneva Communique is upheld.

The Geneva Communique was considered to be the road map for the Syrian political process, in which a transitional governing body would be formed based on mutual consent by the Syrians.

“The Syrian opposition will be getting very nervous if there’s any indications in resolution or discussions on Friday that either the U.S. or Russia are considering leaving the consensus of the Geneva Communique in favor of new language on the Syria process,” Ashooh said.

​U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will chair the U.N. Security Council meeting Friday afternoon.

Earlier in Moscow, kerry indicated that gaps between the U.S. and Russia have narrowed, saying, “We did reach some common ground today and agreement with respect to the complexity of this issue of terrorist groups."

"The talks on Friday and the resolution that may or may not come out of the talks on Friday really will set the stage for whether or not the Syrian conflict is resolved in a quick manner or whether it remains drawn out," said Ashooh.

World Powers Meet in New York to Discuss Proposed Syrian Transition World Powers Meet in New York to Discuss Proposed Syrian Transition Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 8:07 PM Rating: 5

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