Syria opposition mulls downsized negotiation team for Geneva
"The committee is studying options on how to deal with the issue of participation in the Geneva talks," Samir al-Nashar (AFP/File)
The Saudi-based Syrian opposition is considering sending a reduced delegation to UN-sponsored peace talks scheduled Friday in Geneva, an opposition official said, a move that would lower expectations for the long-delayed meeting.
The opposition's Higher Negotiations Committee was meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh for a third day in a row to adopt a final position on participation in the negotiations with the Syrian government.
"The committee is studying options on how to deal with the issue of participation in the Geneva talks," Samir al-Nashar, a member of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, said.
"One idea, which is under discussion, is to send a three-member delegation headed by Riad Hijab to the talks to discuss their views with UN officials," al-Nashar told dpa without giving details.
The committee insists it must be the sole opposition delegation at the talks and has requested more information after the United Nations sent out invitations to other opposition groups earlier this week.
Ahamed Ramadan, a spokesman for the Western-backed coalition, said that the UN has not yet sent "any answers to the clarifications" the opposition is seeking before deciding to attend the talks.
UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has urged the parties to come to Geneva without preconditions and negotiate a ceasefire.
World powers hope that the Geneva negotiations will initiate a political process to resolve Syria's conflict that started in 2011 and is estimated to have killed more than 250,000 people.
By Weedah Hamzah