Syrian opposition says Assad 'rejecting' talks


The leader of the Syrian opposition is challenging the United Nations, its Syria envoy and the world community to acknowledge that President Bashar Assad's government is "rejecting" peace negotiations in Geneva.

Nasr Hariri spoke to reporters after meeting with U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura as the U.N.-mediated peace talks resumed after a weekend pause, but with the government delegation a no-show. Hariri said the newly expanded opposition was committed to implementing U.N. Security Council resolutions that call for political transition, among other things.

Hariri said: "True negotiation is between two parties... So now, it is the responsibility of the international community, it is the responsibility of the United Nations and the special envoy, to announce to the world who is the party who is rejecting the negotiation."

A spokesman for the Syrian opposition's delegation to peace talks says it remains committed to a political transition in which President Bashar Assad would have no role, a position the government has always rejected.

Talks resumed between the opposition and the U.N. envoy to Syria on Tuesday but the government delegation did not show up. The Syrian government said it is mulling a return to Geneva, following a short break.

The head of the government delegation has called the opposition communique to the talks, in which they state that their goal is to see a transition period take effect without Assad, "irresponsible."    (AP)

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