On February 1, spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Salim al-Muslit said that UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura evades any negotiations and a settlement of the Syrian conflict.
These accusations appeared after the de Mistura’s statement of postponing the Geneva Conference from February 8 till February 20. According to him, the decision was the result of the UN’s intention “to give a chance to this Astana initiative to actually implement itself”. In addition, according to the diplomat, the fact that the Conference was postponed could give more time to the Syrian opposition to prepare to the conference and make sure it will be as inclusive as possible.
This explanation sounds a little bit strange. Supposedly, what Syrian opposition should be ready for, if they have just returned from the fruitful Astana talks? The Astana talks gave a serious impetus to the development of the dialogue between the Syrian government and opposition. It is logical to assume that Geneva should foster the process. Apparently, de Mistura doesn’t share this idea.
This is proved by envoy’s another statement, which has also been criticized by HNC. De Mistura stated that if he doesn’t get any response to invitation from the consolidated delegation until February 8, he would personally pick the delegation of the Syrian opposition. In his turn, the spokesmen for the HNC, Salim al-Muslit, stated that only the Syrians have the right to form the delegation, and de Mistura downplays the role of the Syrian people.
It appears that even the Syrian opposition realizes the work of UN Special Envoy is counterproductive. During the negotiations in Astana, a prospect of long-awaited peace has emerged for the Syrian people, but de Mistura, apparently evades the resolution of the conflict. Why doesn’t he want to resume negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition as soon as possible? Why is he impeding the dialog by provoking the opposition?
It seems that the Syrians should continue to cooperate with the guarantor countries of the negotiations in Astana, which gave the first significant result of all the process of resolving the crisis: the draft constitution and the Commission, which will monitor compliance with the ceasefire.