Syrian Kurds Invited to Geneva Negotiations as Part of Hmeymim Group

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The leader of the Hmeymim opposition group has offered the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to become a part of his delegation at the talks in Geneva.

Syrian Kurds Invited to Geneva Negotiations as Part of Hmeymim Group

Photo: Reuters / Denis Balibouse

Syria’s Hmeymim opposition group invites representatives of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to join its delegation at the Geneva talks, the Izvestiya newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing head of the union Ilyan Masaad.

Masaad also noted that if UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura does not agree to take the delegation in its new line-up, the Hmeymim group will come out of the dialogue.

“On June 16, I was present at a meeting with Sergei Lavrov [Russian Foreign Minister]. The Russian Minister asked me a question on participation of Kurds in the negotiation process. I said that we are ready to appear as a unified delegation with Kurds in Geneva. Lavrov expressed his approval of this,” Masaad said. “Now I can again announce my position: I invite representatives of the Democratic Union Party and, in particular, its leader Saleh Muslim to act in the negotiations as a united delegation. If de Mistura refuses such an option, we will suspend our participation in the dialogue,” Masaad stressed.

A problem of Kurds participation in the Geneva talks on the Syrian settlement is still a subject of disagreements between the sides. Russia insists that Kurdish representatives must also be engaged in the dialogue. This position was confirmed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry on August 27.

“I am convinced that Kurds must be fully presented in the process. Kurds must remain a part of the Syrian state, and they must be a part of solution to the problem, but not a factor that will be used to divide Syria because it will cause a chain reaction throughout the region,” the Russian Minister noted.

As Lavrov said in March, Kurdish participation in the negotiations is blocked only by Turkey. According to the minister, all other participants of the talks clearly stand for need for participation of Kurds from the beginning of the negotiation process.

Meanwhile, it does not seem that Ankara’s position has dramatically changed. A Turkish operation in Syria, aimed to fight against both the Islamic State (IS) terrorists, and Kurdish formations, shows Turkey’s intransigence towards Kurds.

At the same time, PYD’s position regarding participation in the dialogue also has not changed. According to Izvestiya, citing a representative of the party in Russia Abd Salam Ali, Kurds are ready to come to Geneva, but only on condition that they will be represented there by an individual delegation.

Meantime, the last round of the dialogue was completed in April, and an issue of time of its renewal still remains open. Earlier, there were statements that it could happen in August. However, the last month of summer ended a few days ago, and no dates, when the political debate on Syrian future could be continued, have still been called.

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