Syria's UN ambassador has rejected reported plans by the Syria-based Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) to declare a federal region in the north of the country.
UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met a Bashar al-Assad regime delegation led by Bashar Jaafari during peace talks Wednesday.
Regarding reports that the PYD -- which has so far been excluded from the peace talks -- wants to establish a federal region in northern Syria, Jaafari said:
"The Syria talks prohibit raising such scenario. What we are talking about here [is] how to keep the unity of Syria and how to respect the unity, independence and territorial integrity of Syria."
Jaafari added that "betting on creating any kind of divisions among Syrians will be a total failure".
"l will not comment on unilateral statements from here and there," he said.
Following the Jaafari's press conference, UN deputy special envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy told reporters: "The UN has a clear position on this as the UN Security Council. All the Syrians l talked to have stressed the importance of territorial integrity of Syria. The future form that Syria will take will be decided by Syrians themselves."
Regime and opposition agree on some points
"We did enter into substantive discussion today (with Syrian regime). We asked Jaafari and his team for clarifications on the paper submitted by the government of Syria. The substantive discussions have started," Ramzi said.
"Some things are agreed on by both sides...We have a good starting point as of now," Ramzy said.
Russian withdrawal ‘was not a surprise’
"The Russian decision to withdraw partially from Syria was taken jointly by a common decision, taken both by President [Vladimir] Putin and President Assad. So, it was not a surprise for us," Jaafari said.
Noting that the Syrian regime delegation has not been ready yet to have direct talks in Geneva with the opposition, Jaafari said he would never have direct talks with the leader of the Jaish Al Islam armed group and its chief negotiator Muhammed Alloush, branding him a “terrorist”.
The new round of talks in Geneva aim to end the war that has seen at least 250,000 Syrians killed and more than 11 million displaced, led to the rise of Daesh and sparked a refugee crisis.
The talks ended abruptly last month amid a Syrian government military offensive backed by Russian air power. Later, the U.S. and Russia agreed a “cessation of hostilities” deal that saw a dramatic reduction in fighting.
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