Syria peace talks will likely resume in Geneva on April 11, but regime negotiators will only arrive several days later after the completion of parliamentary elections in the country, the UN said today.
United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura had previously said he wanted to restart the talks on April 9, but noted there was flexibility in the timeline.
UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told journalists that de Mistura “expects to start on the 11th” by meeting with the main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC).
De Mistura is leading indirect negotiations, meaning the various parties have so far not met face-to-face.
Before the previous round of talks paused on March 24, President Bashar al-Assad’s representatives had said they would not return to Geneva until after the elections on April 13.
The UN does not recognise Syria’s upcoming vote and is trying to strike a peace deal that will see fresh general elections, with opposition candidates included, held within 18 months.
Fawzi said Assad’s negotiators were expected in Geneva from April 14.
The talks remain gridlocked over the president’s political fate, with the opposition demanding Assad leave power before any transitional government is agreed.
The regime has said that dialogue about the president’s future is off limits.
De Mistura has said the next round will be focused on concrete plans for political transition to lead Syria out of five years of brutal civil war.
Many doubt that Damascus is prepared to enter serious negotiations on forming a new government.