'No breakthrough, no breakdown' as Syria talks wrap up

No direct talks in sight between Syria's warring sides

Syria Describes Seventh Round of Dialogue in Geneva as Useful

The head of the Syrian governmental delegation at the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Bashar al-Jaafari, described today as useful the seventh round of talks, in which the fight against terrorism was discussed by the parts.

"No breakthrough, no breakdown, no one walking out", de Mistura said after briefing the UN Security Council by video on the seventh round of talks.

According to De Mistura, the consultative technical mechanism for discussions at the level of experts that had been set up previously proved its efficiency at this round of negotiations. He went on to "clarify some thoughts" about terrorism, mostly reiterating longstanding United Nations positions that he believes have increasingly appeared dormant. "I have asked the parties to have clear substantial issues on all the 4 baskets", de Mistura said.

The envoy, however, ruled out the possibility of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC) uniting with the Moscow- and Cairo-based opposition platforms for direct talks with the Syrian government, during the ongoing round of the Geneva talks, which ends on Saturday.

The U.N. envoy said he has seen no sign that Assad's representatives would ever discuss political transition.

"But what I do believe is that what are going to be the next steps of the worldwide community in wanting to see an acceleration of the end of this conflict may help the government to be ready to address the political process", he said. It was brokered by the U.S., which backs the rebels, as well as Russian Federation, which provides military support to President Bashar al-Assad's troops.

In New York, France's ambassador to the United Nations, Francois Delattre, said a contact group would aim to support de Mistura's efforts.

Delattre stressed that "the fight against terrorism is our number one priority" and the only way to get rid of terrorists "is through a negotiated political solution".

The negotiations on the Syrian crisis settlement take place on two parallel platforms: UN-mediated Geneva talks, and Astana talks that are brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran.

The sides have been meeting separately with de Mistura and his team, never speaking face-to-face.

De Mistura said he has not seen any indication that the regime is willing to talk about forming a new government in Syria but voiced hope that worldwide pressure could move the needle.

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